Brunei Darussalam Tennis Association (BDTA) president Pg Kamaruddin Pg Hj Radin (L) presenting Mohd Aiman Abdullah with his trophy after winning the 2nd leg of the BDTA Open Men's Singles on Monday at the National Tennis Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas. Picture: BT/Syarif Rasani
Brunei Darussalam Tennis Association (BDTA) tournament director Abd Rasheed Abdullah has welcomed the move that the authorities are considering sending a tennis team for the forthcoming Asian Games to be held in the South Korean city of Incheon from September 11-October 4.
Speaking to The Brunei Times on Tuesday, Abd Rasheed said he was happy to know that the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports' (MCYS) national selection and evaluation committee meeting that was held on May 21 discussed sending a tennis team for the premier Asian sporting event.
Abd Rasheed said he was pleasantly surprised to find out tennis was one of the 10 disciplines discussed during the meeting. The other disciplines being considered into for this year are equestrian, fencing, karatedo and sepak takraw.
Cycling and Swimming were discussed for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 23 - August 3 while sepak takraw, petanque, netball and body building are being considered for the November 14-23 Asian Beach Games in Phuket, Thailand.
Abd Rasheed said if the MCYS wants to send one tennis player then Mohd Aiman Abdullah would be natural choice, however, he added that if the ministry decides to send two players then Nurul Mohd Andi Hambali could join Mohd Aiman.
"We didn't get to take part in the previous Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar and this will be a good opportunity for us."
Abd Rasheed said whenever he has attended meetings prior to any tournament or games, the main question asked was "are we confident of getting a medal?" Winning a medal at such events is not easy. He said: "First wee have to look at countries and team particpating and added that sometimes you face top player in the first round.
Abd Rasheed said Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia have improved in the last few years.
"I think the Cambodian players are studying in France so they are training there. So are Vietnamese who are in the United States," Rasheed said. "We need to send our players for overseas tournaments and events as such exposure boosts confidence
"For this we will need financial help. I can't blame the ministry for this as it has to support all sporting activities. However, if a private sector company can sponsor tennis player, it will be great help. "Hopefully some companies can come forward and sponsor Aiman," said Abd Rasheed.
Brunei's No 1 player, Aiman recently took part in the April 30 - May 4 Kuala Lumpur International Open. He won his first two matches 6-0, 6-2 and 7-6, 6-0 before being knocked out 6-3, 6-3 by Singapore Joshua Liew.
Aiman also teamed up with Pg Aki Ismasufian Pg Hj Ibrahim in the doubles but only managed to win their first match 6-1, 6-1 before being stopped in the tracks 6-2, 6-3 by Liew and Singapore's Isaac Ong. Prior to their departure for the International Open the duo teamed together at the local BDTA Men's Doubles 1st Leg in March where they came out on top after defeating Andi and Billy Wong 6-3, 6-2 in the final.
Aiman also proved his tennis status in Brunei on Sunday when he was crowned the champion of the 2nd leg of the BDTA Open Men's Singles after Pg Aki pulled out after losing the first set 6-0 due to an injury on his right arm.
Both the local tournaments were held at the National Tennis Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.