National cue sports coach Lim Tat Hwe (R) watches over Ahmad Taufiq Murni (L) during a training session yesterday at the Billiards and Snooker Hall of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas. BT/ Yee Chun Leong
Ahmad Taufiq Murni is all geared up for his first test of the year.
The national cueist is set to compete in the 2014 Mezz 10-Ball Asian Tour in Singapore this weekend.
The 25-year-old has been given a bye in the qualifying rounds and will begin his campaign in the last-32 which will be held in the knockout format.
Taufiq is in a confident mood and is hoping to put up some good results at the tournament.
"It should be quite tough but I'm always looking to play my best to win. This is my first trip of the year and hopefully I will be able to play well," said Taufiq in an interview when met last night during a training session at the Billiards and Snooker Hall of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
"I feel that I have improved but training is always different from competition. I have been working on my breaks because it is important for 10-ball," he added.
"I'm confident and upbeat for this to adjust myself back to competition," continued the Sultanate's top cueist.
National cue sports coach Lim Tat Hwe is hoping his athlete will be able to play to his potential and is using this competition to prepare for the China Open from June 1-8 in Shanghai.
"This is a good chance for him to play outside the country. It has been a while. The last time he did so was three months ago back during the SEA Games in Myanmar," said Lim.
"Hopefully he will be able to perform to his capabilities at the tournament. This is also more of a warmup for him to be ready for the China Open in June," he added.
Taufiq was the sole Brunei representative at the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar back in December.
He lost his openers in both the men's 9-ball and 10-ball singles events.
His campaign started with a 9-8 loss at the hands of Manut Makkamontee of Thailand in the first round of the men's 9-ball singles event - the third time his campaign ended at the same stage at the biennial Games.
His poor run against Filipino cueists continued after losing 9-5 to World No 12 Dennis Orcollo in the first round of the men's 10-ball singles.
Other cueists that will be competing this weekend are Antonio Lining of the Philippines, Amir Ibrahim of Malaysia and the trio of Singaporeans Aloysius Yapp, Toh Lian Han and Chan Keng Kwang.
The last-32 and last-16 will be a race to seven while the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be race to eight.
The finals will be contested in a race to nine format.
The champion will walk away with $2,000 while the runner-up will be awarded $1,000.
Semi-finalists will get $500 and quarter-finalists $250.