The Brunei Darussalam Sepak Takraw Association (Pestabaru) yesterday held an appreciation ceremony and doa selamat for the national sepak takraw team which won two bronze medals at the recent 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games - the country's first podium finishes at the biennial meet since the 1999 SEA Games.
Mohamad Shukri Jaineh, Ismail Ang, Abdul Hadi Ariffin Matali, Humaidi Brahim, Mohd Hafizuddin Jamaluddin and Marzuki Munap all received a token of appreciation from Pestabaru for their endavours at the Games.
The six-man squad were already guaranteed a medal from the start of their campaign in the hoop event since there were only four teams contesting the category at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium in Naypyidaw.
Brunei still went on to finish third after scoring 430 points to Singapore's 230.
Their second medal came from the men's team double event after they cruised through their Group A games by first taking out Singapore 2-1 before then crushing Cambodia 3-0.
Unfortunately, Indonesia stopped Brunei from advancing to the final by beating them 2-0 in the semi-finals.
Pestabaru president Pg Hj Ali Hassan Pg DSLJ Hj Abas was still happy with their results.
"We are quite happy with medals because sepak takraw was the only team sport to bring back medals, while the rest came from martial arts," said Pg Hj Ali Hassan in an interview with The Brunei Times at the Multipurpose Hall of the Menglait Sports Complex.
"I think they tried very hard and they were aiming for a better result, but unfortunately, we lost in the men's team double semi-finals to Indonesia.
"In fact, this isn't our first bronze medal because we did win one in the regu event of the 20th SEA Games in 1999 that was hosted in Brunei.
"Between that time we have won medals in other competitions such as the 2008 Asian Beach Games in Bali, the 2010 Asian Beach Games in Oman and the 2012 Asian Beach Games in China," noted the president.
The only event Brunei failed to advance from the group stages while at Myanmar was the men's double event after losing all their Group A games.
They lost their opening group match 2-1 to Indonesia, which was then followed by their 2-0 defeat by Vietnam and 2-0 loss to Laos.
The national team have enjoyed a fine 2013 after successful outings over the past year.
The national Under-21 side claimed one gold and one silver at the 5th Borneo Games in Labuan in September, where they clinched the regu event title after defeating Sabah 3-0 in the final.
The silver came from the men's double event, where they were second best after losing 3-1 to Sabah in the final.
Brunei also contested the 28th King's Cup Sepak Takraw Championship 2013 in Thailand the same month.
They bagged silver in the team event of Division 1 after losing to the Philippines in the final and the squad also netted bronze in the 14-team hoop event after beating Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam in the process.
The Sultanate competed in all three rounds of the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series 2013.
It didn't go as planned as they managed ninth placed finishes in the first two legs in India and Thailand.
With the seniors having to prepare for the SEA Games, Brunei went to the final leg in Kota Kinabalu from Oct 31-Nov 3 with a junior team - and they pulled off a great surprise to finish sixth.
The national team, though, are now without a coach after Ittiphol Chomchaissak's contract ends today after serving 12 years in Brunei.
The Thai is set to take over as coach of the Vietnam's women's team.
Pestabaru are still waiting on news for his replacement.
Coach or no coach, Pestaburu will be heading in to the New Year looking for new talent - with the January 14-19 National Sepak Takraw Tournament the first meet of the year.
"We want the team to be together but we will be organising a few tournaments this year and we will scouting for new talents," said Pg Hj Ali Hassan.
"Normally when we hold these events, our main objective is always to look for new players, which is why our tournaments are held for the youths," added the president.