National coach, Joseph Kameni (L) leads a training session at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in the capital yesterday. Kameni is setting his sights on developing a strong foundation for jump events in athletics to peak during the 2019 SEA Games that Brunei will be hosting. BT/Yee Chun Leong
National jumping coach Joseph Kameni is going straight to the grassroots.
2014 will be the first full year in Brunei for the Cameroonian and he is hoping to build a strong foundation in the sport.
"We are required to explore and meet students in schools. We want to convince them to pick up the jump events in athletics," said Kameni in an interview with The Brunei Times when met during a training session yesterday at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
"This is the strategy set out by the Sports Coaching and Development Unit (under the Department of Youth and Sports).
"We need to build a strong foundation for the SEA Games which Brunei will host in 2019," added the 49-year-old.
"There is still five years left. We're looking at the 15-18 years old age group because they will be at the prime age to compete at their peak performance then.
"We will be using TID (Talent Identification) at schools. We hope to get some talent to follow the sport.
"As for now, I've received data from TID that was conducted previously in 2012. I will be looking to work out a report in the upcoming weeks and contact those that meet the requirements to take up the sport," continued Kameni
The national coach also highlighted that the jumping event - high jump, long jump, triple jump and pole vault - is seen as a difficult sport.
He is hoping to change the perception in the Sultanate.
"It the same everywhere as many have the perception that the sport is very difficult. It is a common belief," said Kameni, who had trained two-time triple jump Olympic gold medallist, Cameroonian Francoise Mbango Etone, earlier in his career.
"They will find out that it is an interesting event that requires speed and strength. They just need to train for a couple of months to realise how nice the sport is," he added.
Currently the coach only has four athletes under his wing since his arrival back in July last year. The team currently trains up to seven times a week depending on the weather.
The Cameroonian is also hoping those interested will step forward and look him up at the Sports Coaching and Development Unit situated at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas during office hours.
"Everyone is welcome to take part.
"I'm looking forward to have some new athletes including beginners," said Kameni.
"There is nothing to pay for as training is free. So why not come up for a chance to work on representing the country in the future," he added.
Besides the grassroots programme, events on the calendar that the team are aiming for are the 20th Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 - August 3 and the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, Korea from September 19 - October 4.
"We are preparing ourselves and hopefully we will be able to achieve the standard set by April.
"We are working very hard to get ourselves ready," he concluded.