Ak Mohd Khairul Bahri Pg Aliumar
Ak Mohd Khairul Bahri Pg Aliumar (pic) won a bronze medal in yesterday's SEA Games pencak silat men's tanding Class G (75-80kg) category despite losing 5-0 to Vietnam's Nguyen Duy Tuyen.
The 29-year-old was lucky to receive a bye into the second-round (semi-final) at the Zayar Thiri Indoor Stadium C but failed to win his only match at the competition - one that would have given Brunei a silver at the very least for reaching the final.
Ak Mohd Khairul Bahri - who won bronze in the Class E (70-75kg) category at the last SEA Games in Indonesia two years ago after beating a Thai to move into the semi-finals - will only receive his medal after tomorrow's tanding finals.
Yesterday's loss means none of Brunei's four entries in the tanding tournament have won a single point off any of their opponents at the 27th edition of the Games, all of them falling by similar 5-0 scorelines - though none of them got byes into last-four like Ak Mohd Khairul Bahri did.
"We might have to think whether we will send any tanding contestants to the next SEA Games," admitted national coach Suhartono when asked about the 5-0 defeats.
"The association (Brunei Darussalam National Pencak Silat Association - Persib) will decide whether we have the athletes with potential or not before we nominate them," added the Indonesian.
Though he is an eight-year veteran of the national team, Ak Mohd Khairul Bahri was always going to have a hard time going up against Nguyen - the 2008 world champion in his category.
Both fighters started the competition cautiously but Ak Mohd Khairul Bahri soon fell behind and failed to show any incentive to go on the attack in the six-minute bout divided into three rounds.
"It looked like he lacked the confidence to carry out what he learnt in training," noted Suhartono, a seasoned national coach who has been at the helm at his native Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
"The Vietnamese is my former student and I know he has a good left leg and scissors, but that can all be overcome... The problem was Ak Mohd Khairul Bahri looked scared to go forward.
"But he has the ability and I was hoping he would win because he's the most senior member of the (tanding) team - the rest are all at the SEA Games for the first time," he added.
Ak Mohd Khairul Bahri didn't think it was a matter of confidence or bravery though, later saying that the gap in quality was the main reason he lost.
"I wasn't scared or nervous - my opponent was too strong," he said. "My plan was to defend at first and then attack after that, but my kicks didn't reach."
Ak Md Saifful Azri Pg Mohd Iskandar Saifful Bahari, Siti Shazareena Hanifa and Farina Afida Pehin Hj Abdul Jalil made up the rest of the tanding team - all of whom went up against Suhartono's former students.
Competing in the women's tanding Class C (55-60 kg) event, Siti Shazareena was knocked out by the Philippines' Nerlyn Huinda while Farina Afida lost her women's tanding Class F (70-75kg) match against Thailand's Monruthai Bangsalad - both games played on Tuesday.
Ak Md Saifful Azri Pg Mohd Iskandar Saifful Bahari started Brunei's campaign with a 5-0 loss to world champion and SEA Games defending champion Diep Ngoc Vu Minh in the men's tanding Class A (45-50 kg) event on Monday.