Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Nerves sink wushu squad
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nerves at yesterday's wushu competition mean Brunei are still without a medal at the SEA Games.

Both the Roslan brothers - Md Sufi Shayiran, 15, and Mohammad Adi Sya'rani, 14 - were unable to deliver on pre-SEA Games medal hopes, with Md Sufi finishing second from bottom in the nandao (southern sabre) and Mohammad Adi last in the daoshu (sabre) discipline, his last event of the Games.

Though the brothers have won silver at the Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) and bronze at the Asian Junior Wushu Championships, the SEA Games has proven to be a much more competitive playing field.

Only 0.03 points separated the top-three in the daoshu event at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium, and the margin was even slimmer in the nandao discipline, where the number was 0.02.

Myanmar's Aung Phyo Wai won the nandao gold with 9.69, Malaysia's Ho Hua Mun was second on 9.68 and Vietnam's Pham Khanh Quoc third with 9.67.

Md Sufi was 10th in the 11-athlete field with 9.12, with only Cambodia's San An below him on 7.12.

Indonesian Achmad Hulaefi won the daoshu gold on 9.70, with Vietnam's Nguyen Manh Quyen claiming silver with 9.68 and Malaysia's Ng Say Yoke taking bronze with 9.67.

Mohammad Adi was last in the 10-athlete field with 9.10.

"At the ISG the strong teams were Malaysia, Indonesia... Iran... But here the competition is stiffer," noted the brothers, both admitting that they were nervous when competing and that poor jumps played a part in both their scores.

"I'm disappointed," admitted Md Sufi.

"I didn't land properly and I'm not satisfied with my routine - though I'm happy with my movements," he added.

"I only pulled off four of my six jumps," said Mohammad Adi.

"Judges give marks on movement, speed and tempo. Speed and tempo are important. If you do all your moves perfectly but they are all slow... It's no point," he explained.

In all fairness to the brothers, their age and lack of experience puts them at a distinct disadvantage - they are going up against opponents who have won world championships and have been competing in the sport for more than a decade.

National coach Li Hui, who before the wushu opener on Saturday said that the athletes needed to be relaxed in order to allow their moves to "flow naturally", explained just why a calm state of mind is crucial in a high pressure environment such as the SEA Games.

"I think Sufi was only 80 per cent today. He was brave but he was a bit rushed, a bit nervous," he said.

"If you jump when you are rushed, your heart beats faster and your muscles tense.

"You have to be stable before you land. If not, you have no balance and points are deducted," he explained.

He didn't mince his words when asked about Adi, probably knowing that it is hard to defend anyone who finishes last - though the disparity in age is hard to ignore.

"Adi was scared. He had no confidence and no experience," said the coach. "Adi looked good during training but he couldn't perform when competing, but that's because he does not have enough competitive experience."

"He's only 14 - the others here are all 20 plus. His age also means he has no power and not enough stamina," he added.

Just one year older, Md Sufi can redeem himself when he competes in his last event, the nangun (southern staff), in the last day of wushu competition today.

"I'm just going to go out there and try my best," Md Sufi promised.

"It's not that hard but because the staff is long, you need to have a good feel for it - and control. Strength also plays a part," he added.

Today will also see the most famous wushu exponents the country has produced, Faustina Woo Wai Sii and Lee YingShi, compete in the highly anticipated duilian (duo sparring with broadsword and spear) event.

Woo is nursing a knee injury that has sidelined her for most of the year, which will factor will factor in today's event - the same one which they won silver in the last two editions of the SEA Games, both times losing out to Singapore on 0.01.

The disappointing losses and Woo's injury might play on their minds today - but Li wants the duo, who also won gold in the same event at the 8th Asian Wushu Championships last year, to put everything aside when they step onto the floor.

"I've already told them not to be nervous," he said.

"Don't think about anything. Crowd. Injury. You don't need to.

"Just go out there and do your best. That's enough."

Courtesy from Brunei Times