National taekwondo athlete Nurulain Md Jafaar will face a tough comeback test on the international stage at next month's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.
Nurulain stayed away from taking part on the world stage after picking up a bronze medal in the 2011 Chuncheon Korea Open International Taekwondo Championships two and a half years ago due to her studies, and making an appearance at September's 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games in Indonesia as part of experience training for the SEA Games, Nurulain was knocked out during the quarter-finals.
However, she is sure that Myanmar will be a different story.
"I am feeling confident now because national coach Kim Jung Jun has taught me new techniques and strategies to use against my opponents - but I still am a little nervous," said Nurulain, who will be representing the Sultanate in the women's under 73kg (middle weight) category on December 21.
"We have basically been training twice a day but unfortunately on some days we can only fit in one session due to other commitments.
"We have also gone up to Kuala Belait to face their taekwondo athletes to get the feel of facing new opponents so we can make new strategic plans," added Nurulain.
Two time SEA Games representative Mohd Fatullah Mohammad Taib will also be flying the flag for Brunei in the men's under 63kg (bantam weight) category on December 20.
Fatullah, who also took part in the Islamic Solidarity Games, fared the same as Nurulain and crashed out early.
However, he has tasted some success this year after sealing a bronze medal in the Phuket International Taekwondo Championships in January.
"I feel good about my confidence levels leading up to Myanmar," said Fatullah who was part of the national contingent at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos and 2011 Games in Indonesia.
Though Fathullah took a 1-0 lead at the start of his 2011 SEA Games bantam weight (58-63kg) first round (quarter-final) match against Malaysia's Rusfredy Tokan Petrus, his opponent came back to win the game 2-1.
It was, though, a marked improvement from the 2009 edition when he was eliminated 11-1 by Singapore's Jason Tan in the same stage of the men's fin weight (below 54kg) category.
Fatullah also made it to the final of the October 2012 Gyeongju Korea Open International Taekwondo Championships but was unlucky to finish with silver.
"Fatullah has the confidence but he will be going up against some really tough competition (at the SEA Games), especially from Thai fighters that are really high up in the world rankings," said Kim.
Brunei won a bronze medal at the 2011 Games but it was largely down to luck.
Mohammad Saifullah Hj Mohtar lost his one and only match, a 9-2 loss to Thailand's eventual champion Nattapat Tantramar in the welterweight (74-80kg) category.
However, he still shared with the other losing semi-finalist, Vietnam's Vo Hoang Giao.
Both Mohammad Saifullah and Hoang Giao were given byes to the semis and did not compete in the first round (quarter-finals) at the Popki Sports Hall in Cibubur.
Brunei will be competing in 10 sports in this year's edition which will run from Dec 11-22.
Completing the list are athletics, billiards & snooker, cycling, football, karatedo, pencak silat, petanque, sepak takraw and wushu.
Brunei were the only country not to finish with a gold medal at the last Games in Indonesia, where they returned with four silver and 11 bronze medals.
The kempo team, whose four exponents claimed a country-best of two silver medals in Jakarta, were not selected to represent the country in Myanmar.