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No time to relax for national wushu team
Friday, January 3, 2014

National wushu coach Li Hui knows very well that time waits for no man.

The Chinese national is not looking to waste any time as he conducted his first training session of 2014 on the New Year.

Wushu was the best performing sport last year after bagging the only gold medal for the Sultanate at the recently concluded 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.

Third time was the charm for the duo of Faustina Woo Wai Sii and Lee Yingshi as they finished at the top of podium in the duilian (duo sparring with broadsword and spear) event.

The pair notched 9.67 points to beat Singapore by 0.01 to finish at the top of the podium at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium A in Naypyidaw, the victory all the more sweeter since it was Singapore who beat them for gold by the exact same margin at the 2009 and 2011 SEA Games.

Li continues to strike while the iron is hot and is eyeing three big competitions this year.

First on the calendar is the 5th World Junior Wushu Championships in Antalya, Turkey from March 11-18, the tournament set to serve as a qualifier for the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China from August 16-28.

A sixth-place finish or better will book their ticket to the latter tournament.

The third event on the calendar is the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, Korea from September 9 - October 4.

"We only had two days (rest) after returning from the SEA Games and have already started preparing for the year. There is no time to waste as we have to work harder," said Li in an interview with The Brunei Times when met at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday.

"I want to implant the kind of attitude where there is no time to relax. It is easier to win the gold but more difficult to defend the title. We need to continue working and get better as others will try to beat us.

"As for those who didn't return with medals (from SEA Games) should not feel down. They have to learn from the experience and never give up.

"Just look forward to the next tournament and continue to put in the work," continued Li.

Despite the new school term starting yesterday, the team will continue to train six times a week at the Multipurpose Hall of the Menglait Sports Complex.

"School has reopened and the athletes are doing their best to adjust their schedules to attend training. I also have plans to bring the athletes to train with the best in China later in the year," said Li.

The national coach was also pleased with the progress of the sport with the next generation of athletes.

The junior squad returned with 10 gold, five silver and six bronze medals from the Miri Sarawak 2013 Wushu Invited Championships in the final week of 2013, and it was the first taste of competition at the regional level for the majority of the 18 wushu athletes - who were aged between six and 15.

"The main aim of the competition was to provide an opportunity for the younger athletes to gain some experience," said Li.

"Our standard is quite similar to our neighbours at the moment.

"We are improving well and these athletes are the future of the sport. They will be the ones representing Brunei at the 2019 SEA Games.

"I'm looking forward to the New Year and hopefully we will be able to do better. We want to thank the Department of Youth and Sports for their continuous support for the sport," added the 40-year-old.

Courtesy from Brunei Times