National aquatics head coach Eric Landa (R) during a practice session at the Aquatics Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas in this 2011 file photo. BT file
National aquatics head coach Eric Landa believes that ample preparation will be the key to success if his swimmers are confirmed for the July 23 - Aug 3 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
However with Ramadan around the corner, they will only be able to swim six hours a week due to the Aquatics Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas only being open from 9-10pm every day except on Thursdays - their usual training schedule sees them rack up 25 hours a week, 50 weeks a year.
Landa knows that the only way for his athletes to get prepared during Ramadan is to postpone fasting and hold a training camp, which they did last year before they headed to the July 19 - Aug 4 15th FINA World Championship in Barcelona when they trained at the United World College South East Asia in Singapore for two weeks before flying to Spain.
"As much as postponing your fasting is a personal decision, this makes a lot of sense when you are about to represent the country and yourself at major competitions (Olympics, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games) and this is common practice all around the world," Landa told The Brunei Times.
"Therefore, I have to trust the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council, Department of Youth and Sports and the Brunei Amateur Swimming Association to work together to give these athletes the chance to prepare to their best.
"Should they all together decide that a training camp is not happening, then this will have the consequence of sending athletes that are not ready to perform and will make a fool of themselves and the country.
"Therefore, it is very clear to me that we will have to withdraw from participation if they are not ready to perform at least a new personal record.
"Unlike most other sports and coaches, I don't think in terms of exposure and filling up spots that were given to you due to wildcards or universality places.
"I believe if you compete you need to be ready, or you don't compete at all.
"It should be an honour to represent your country, so 'exposure' is definitely out of the question. Even coming in last in a new personal best time is honourable.
"But if in the end we have to conclude that we cannot prepare to the best of our abilities, then we have no other option then to respectfully decline.
"Fortunately, the swimmers being considered for the Commonwealth Games feel the same.
"They want to prepare the best way possible and they have no problems in overcoming some obstacles.
"That's life and that's high performance sports, that's excellence," he added.
The national cyclists are also being considered to represent Brunei at the Commonwealth Games.