Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Athletes enjoy Myanmar experience
Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Myanmar women with thanaka masks vending their wares at the local market in Naypyidaw. National runner Maziah Mahusin was intrigued with the masks made from the bark of the thanaka tree and smeared over exposed areas of the skin to cool and protect the users from harsh sunlight. BT/ Yee Chun Leong

The 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games are in the books and have left a lasting impression for the Bruneian athletes.

Myanmar last hosted the biennial Games back in 1969. They tried to make this year's edition one to remember... and they did - for both good and bad reasons.

Brunei sent 61 athletes to compete in 10 sports, all of which were contested in the capital Naypyidaw.

National cueist Ahmad Taufiq Murni, who lost in the first round of both the 9-ball and 10-ball events, felt that everything went as smooth as they could.

But it was not the best Games experience he has had, having participated in four editions thus far - Manila (2005), Korat, Thailand (2007) and Palembang, Indonesia (2011) being the others.

"The overall stay in Naypyidaw was just okay even though we were staying in a resort hotel. Organisation is alright compared to the last SEA Games in Palembang and our LO (Liason Officer) was very hardworking," said Taufiq in an interview with The Brunei Times on Sunday.

"The best one I've been to is still Korat as the others were just no match. There were more things to do at the Athletes Village there. The variety of food was really good as well... the food is repetitive here," he said.

"The best part about Naypyidaw is that all the venues are brand new. The infrastructure and facilities are top notch," continued the 25-year-old

It was definitely a campaign to remember for Lee Yingshi after winning the only gold for Brunei in the duilian (duo sparring with broadsword and spear) event partnering Faustina Woo Wai Sii.

Third time was the charm for the wushu athlete and she also made her comparisons to previous editions.

"The food is delicious in Naypyidaw but everyday it is the same. No big change. Laos was better because there were a lot of choices," said Lee.

"As for the organisation, the Games are the same for all of them... not bad," she added.

"Palembang's hotel food was very bad but I lived alone in a room with a king-size bed. So accommodation there was the best," continued Lee.

National cyclist Muhammad Rafiuddin Zikara found the outing alright but felt that transportation could have been better.

"Overall it was okay except that transport was a problem we were brought to the venues late," said Rafiuddin.

National runner Maziah Mahusin and jumper Abdul Haqim Hj Yahya made their debut at the regional Games and enjoyed the social life of the Games.

Maziah failed to progress out of the heats of the women's 400-metre event but the Olympian is focusing on the positives of the outing.

"Accommodation, food and organisation were all okay but the shuttle buses were useless," said Maziah.

"I'm going to miss the track, the people and the weather. The people were friendly, funny and weird with the (thanaka) mask on the face," she added.

Thanaka is a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark.

It is applied to the face to cool and protect the skin from harsh sunlight.

"It wasn't a good experience for me and it's my first SEA Games. It's a lesson for me to train harder and focus more," said Maziah.

Haqim, who competed in the high jump event, felt that there should be more variety in the food but he still enjoyed his time in Naypyidaw.

"About food, it is kind of the same everyday eventhough they changed the sauce. I felt fed up after eating it for four days. But it was good food," said Haqim.

"Accommodation was good and I was very happy to stay at the Games village because of the activities there. I also met new friends at the social zone," he added.

"Organisation for the Myanmar Games is very good. I can't compare to other SEA Games though since this is my first time," concluded Haqim.

Courtesy from Brunei Times