The national petanque team posing for a photo prior to leaving for the 8th Pan Pacific Petanque Championship in the Philippines yesterday. BT/Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
The national petanque team are aiming for a podium finish at the 8th Pan Pacific Petanque Championship in the Philippines.
The tournament will kick off today in Clark, where Brunei will be represented by captain Mazlan Hj Yahya, Mohd Wirna Hj Mohd Yasin, Mohd Abdillah Tamin and Pg Asmalina Pg Hj Muhd Jaya at the May 30 to June 1 tournament.
They will be competing in the triple category and Mazlan and Mohd Abdillah will also be competing in the individual shooting event, with the team departing from the Brunei International Airport for Manila yesterday.
"We are targeting a third-place finish this year and it will be a bonus if we manage to reach the final," said national coach Somsak Juychunprasert in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday. "Our players are all good. Technically they are at the same level with world class players from Thailand and Vietnam.
"But then again, anything can happen in petanque (as) 30 per cent of the game depends on luck. "I need our players to be physically healthy and ready for the game. "Endurance is important too - the game can stretch up to 10 hours. But I believe that all these players can perform," added the Thai.
Despite coming off a win at a tournament in Miri last week, Mazlan knows that the team can't take anything for granted in the Philippines considering the quality on display there. Joining the hosts in the tournament are Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Taipei, Thailand and Vietnam.
"This is a very competitive tournament and most petanque players rate this tournament second after the Olympics," said Mazlan. "We have been practicing very hard for this tournament, and as long as we can get a medal, it is good enough for me.
"We just got back from Miri last week where we won the doubles category at the Miri Mayfest Petanque Tournament, and I think we are quite ready at the moment," added Mazlan in the interview.. Brunei bagged bronze in the triple category of the Pan Pacific Petanque Championship last year when they hosted the event in June.
The trio of Hamidon Hj Hamid, Junaidi Ali and Hj Yussof Mohammad shared third with Indonesia after losing 13-6 to Vietnam in the semi-final at the Petanque Pitch of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
They defeated New Zealand 13-0 and Singapore 13-6 in the qualifying rounds before making their way to the semi-final following a 13-5 victory over their fellow countrymen Awg Abdul Wahab Salihin Hj Besar, Marhalim Hj Juni and Azmi Eddy Mohd Harris in the quarter-finals.
Also travelling with the team to the Philippines is Brunei Darussalam Petanque Federation (BDPF) president Abdul Ghani Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Ali, vice-president Hj Abdul Karim Hj Ahmad and team manager Hj Rosmin Hj Hassan.