(From left) National coach Somsak Juychunprasert, Zunaidi Ali, Hj Yussof Hj Mohammad and Hj Hamidon Hj Hamid prior to their departure for Thailand on Monday. Courtesy of Mazlan Hj Yahya
The national petanque team left the country for Thailand on Monday to train for December's 27th edition of Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.
Three national players, Zunaidi Ali Hj Hamidon Hj Hamid and Hj Yussof Hj Mohammad are accompanied by national coach Somsak Juychunprasert for the 37-day stint in Chiang Mai.
"We are looking forward to training with the best petanque players in Thailand," said coach Somsak in a recent interview with The Brunei Times
"It is very important to send the athletes out to train with the region's best before a big tournament such as SEA Games as it will help them to build their confidence," he said.
Zunaidi, Hj Hamidon and Hj Yussof won bronze in the 7th Pan Pacific Petanque Championship held in country in July.
The trio shared third place with Indonesia after reaching the semi-finals of the competition.
They defeated compatriots Abdul Wahab Salihin Hj Besar, Marhalim Hj Juni and Azmi Eddy Mohd Harris 13-5 in the quarter-final before losing to eventual silver-medalists Vietnam 13-6 in the semi-final at the Petanque Pitch of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
"There will be a lot of sparring and friendly matches to condition them to be match ready for the tournament," continued Somsak.
"We will be joining a number of small tournaments in Chiang Mai, this is a very good opportunity for the players and this will also help me to identify and work on the players' strengths and weaknesses," he added.
Besides the training, Brunei will also be competing at Tuesday's Asian Petanque Championship in Bali, Indonesia.
The country will be represented by Awg Badarudin Hj Murni, Masli Hj Mohammad Said, Hj Mohammad Sahmedeyn Hj Kahar, Hj Mohd Azlan Hj Awg Jali, Hjh Syahrinawati Yahya, Muslinah Amran, Nurhafizah Abdul Razak and Norhani Hj Juna.
National captain Mazlan Hj Yahya is a notable absence in this year's edition of SEA Games in Napyidaw.
Mazlan did not fulfil the requirement that has been set by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports' national selection and evaluation committee after failing to win any medal in competition at which the standard is equivalent to the SEA Games and Pan Pacific Petanque Championship.
The national captain though won silver in the men's singles event at a pre-SEA Games trial in Myanmar last month.