(From left) Abd Malik Hj Ladi, Juffri Hj Junaidi and Abd Rahman Hj Asli posing with their bronze medals after winning the men's regu competition at the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar yesterday. BT/ Jason Thomas
Norleyermah Hj Raya in action during yesterday's women's tunggal event. BT/ Jason Thomas
Brunei's men's regu (trio) team won a bronze in yesterday's SEA Games pencak silat seni competition to make up for Norleyermah Hj Raya's disappointing fourth-place finish in the women's tunggal (singles) event.
The result, combined with the bronze Ak Mohd Khairul Bahri Pg Aliumar won in the men's tanding class G (75-80kg) category yesterday, means Brunei have finished the pencak silat tournament with two bronze medals - one shy of the three bronze they won at the 2011 Games.
Abdul Malik Hj Ladi, Juffri Hj Junaidi and Abdul Rahman Hj Asli received a score of 452 for their three-minute routine yesterday, ending with the same medal they won at the 2011 Games in Indonesia.
Defending champions Indonesia retained the title they won two years ago after finishing with 465 points.
Hosts Myanmar claimed silver on 457, while Laos, the only other team in the event, notched 432 points.
The pencak silat's brightest medal hope, Norleyermah, who is competing in her fifth SEA Games, winning bronze in 2011 and silver in 2007, was only good for fourth yesterday.
Apart from the women's tunggal and men's regu, Brunei also won women's regu bronze in Jakarta two years ago - but the event was not contested at this year's Games.
In the seni events, teams or individuals are given a base point of 500 and are deducted one point for every mistake made in two categories; "correctness" and "stability, expressiveness and stamina".
With five judges involved in the scoring process, the judge with the highest and lowest scores are exempted before the scores from the other three judges are averaged out.
Despite the men's regu medal a welcome addition to Brunei's haul this year - they now have one gold and three bronze - Brunei's seni coach Pg Hj Tejudin Pg Md Salleh felt the country were better than Myanmar and should have been awarded silver.
It is no surprise then that the coach said that the judging was to blame, the suggestions of bias nothing new to martial arts in the SEA Games.
"The referee management could be better. I don't know why the organisers have brought in a referee from non-Asean countries like India and Japan," he said, adding that the reason the seni competition started more than an hour late was because Malaysia protested against the very matter.
"It was the same in Indonesia when there was a judge from America...
"Indonesia deserved to win gold because they are the titleholders and reigning world champions," he added.
He did not want to comment on Norleyermah's result though, the petite 26-year-old set to finish with bronze on 446 points until Thailand's Nattanin Sornsoonthorn, who was the last of the five entries, ended with 451 points.
Myanmar's silver-medalist Khin Khin Khant started the event after scoring 450 points, followed by Brunei and Laos (419).
Indonesia were fourth on the schedule and Dewa Ayu Aro Parwiti's relatively high 469, which won her gold, meant the next score was also bound to be given a high mark according to national pencak silat manager Pg Abdul Karim Pg Metassan.
"Because Indonesia had such a high mark, the next competitor - in this case Thailand - would have been high as well," he noted.
"Our target was to get a medal but we couldn't do it," he said, adding that the less than ideal training situation back in Brunei also contributed to the result.