Nurulain Md Jafa'ar ended the year on a high note for the national taekwondo team after picking up a bronze medal during last month's 27th Southeast (SEA) Asian Games in Myanmar.
Despite being out of the scene for two and a half years to study, Nurulain notched Brunei's only medal in the sport at the Dec 11-22 biennial tournament.
Making her debut at the regional meet, the women's 68-73kg (middle weight) class contender finished with joint-bronze through receiving a bye into the semi-final before being defeated 6-3 by Indonesia's Selviana Angelia Jehabut.
Nurulain trailed Jehabut 3-1 going into the second round and fell to a further 5-1 deficit before heading in to the final round of the six-entry event.
Jehabut went ahead 6-1 at the start of the third round, and in the last 10 seconds Nurulain delivered two quick punches to cut the deficit to 6-3.
Nurulain made her comeback to the sport at October's Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG), where she unfortunately didn't make it past the first round after falling 5-2 to Bangladesh's Shraboni Biswas in the women's 73kg and below category.
Nurulain is already thinking about the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, saying after receiving her bronze medal, "I will work harder and try my best at the next Games to go for gold."
Three-time SEA Games representative Fathullah Mohammad Taib was the other Bruneian at the SEA Games, and unfortunately, he too couldn't make it past the first round after a 9-6 loss to the Philippines' Paul Romero in the men's 58-63kg (bantam weight).
The 23-year-old also took part in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia and 2009 SEA Games in Laos, where he was denied second round berths in both instances.
Fathullah also took part in the ISG where he failed to move past the first round after losing his first bout 14-1 to Turkey's Bildik Umuk in the men's 63kg below knock-out stage.
Despite the SEA Games losses, national coach Kim Jung jun was happy with his charges' attitude on the floor.
"All the coaches said Brunei players had good fighting spirit and never gave up," said the South Korean, adding he spoke to the coaches of Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Timor Leste and Indonesia.
At the national level, ADN MMA (mixed martial arts) Fitness Gym ended the year toping both December's 2nd Brunei Taekwondo Championship (sparing) and October's 1st Brunei Taekwondo Association (BTA) Taekwondo Poomsae (technique) Tournament.
They roped in a total of seven gold, four silver and five bronze medals in the December to surpass Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Abu Bakar Secondary School Taekwondo Club, who finished with six gold and five silver medals.
Trailing in third were Brunei Shell Recreational Club (BSRC) with three gold, two silver and one bronze.
ADN's biggest medal haul came in October when they collected 23 gold, 11 silver and six bronze medals.
Far behind in second place were BSRC with six gold, three silver and two bronze - followed by Ricky Taekwondo Club who walked away with five gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
The first such event of its kind, the tournament was a test for the participants in the basic movements of taekwondo which comprise of blocks, kicks and punches.
The tournament, which was open to all taekwondo clubs and schools in the country, was also for the BTA to observe and scout new talents to groom into professional athletes who can one day represent the Sultanate.
"We are quite happy that we are ending the year having topped both categories," said ADN coach Mohd Nate Younis Ahmad.
June was an especially important month for the sport after 13 people passed the 1st National Taekwondo Poomsae Referee Course to become the country's first batch of referees in the sport.
With the national referee certification, they can now referee in Poomsae competitions in Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak.
Two taekwondo masters from Taekwondo Malaysia were specially flown in to facilitate the three-day course at the Sports Coaching and Development Unit at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas, Master Raman Anthony from Sabah and Master Yap Yeh Ting from Kuala Lumpur.
The course covered relevant modules such as Poomsae Theory, Scoring Criteria & Method Scoring, Competition Rules and practical training, which then ended with written and practical examinations.
Earlier in the month, 22 senior taekwondo exponents from various clubs took their promotion tests for promotion within the ranks of black belt.
After a grueling day, 12 brown belt holders were promoted to the 1st dan black belt level, while five were promoted to 3rd dan and another five advanced to 4th dan black belt levels.
The upgrading syllabus included testing the players' poomsae (patterns) techniques, one-step sparring, sparring, kicking and breaking.
The promotion test was held at the Menglait Sports Complex and was examined by the President of the BTA Hj Tajuddin Hj Mohd Salleh as the chief examiner.
Hj Tajuddin said he was very pleased with the performance, techniques and skill levels displayed by the exponents during the upgrading, and they all deserved the promotion. He hoped that the exponents will continue to enhance and improve their skills and advance further in taekwondo.
The increase in the number of black belt holders in Brunei was also very good news for BTA, but he informed the exponents that the next black belt promotion test will be a little bit more challenging in order to ensure better quality of black belt holders.
Meanwhile in October, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports urged the Gerak Empat Satu Pencak Silat Practitioners Association (G41) to further cooperation with other martial arts bodies such as taekwondo and wushu as they held common ideals in actively involving youth to strengthen society.
"We must be united in diversity and work on a united action plan to promote disciplines and activities that will form the necessary identity resulting in a peaceful and prosperous country," said YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah during G4's 25th anniversary celebration at Pusat Bahagia, Berakas.