3 athletes will represent Brunei at the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
Brunei are set to compete in two sports - athletics and fencing - at the August 16 - 28 competition. The flag handing ceremony for the seven-member contingent was held yesterday at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas before departure to the Games. Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports handed over the Brunei flag to chef-de-mission Siti Hadinawati Hj Abdul Majid.
National athletics coach Isidro del Prado is hoping that his charges will be able to set up some new times. "I'm hoping that the athletes will be able to produce new personal bests," said Del Prado in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday. "They have been steadily improving in training and hopefully that will be able to do better," added the Filipino.
Hannah Hasim is set to feature in the girls' 400m event while Maswafieyuddin Hj Shari will take part in the boys' 200m event. The former started training under Del Prado from March last year and her best time is 65.2 seconds. "I don't know what to expect but I just want to surpass my current personal best time," said Hannah.
"Training has been a bit inconsistent for me but I have been improving from my past two outings last year," she added. The 17-year-old had competed at the 5th ASEAN School Games in June last year as well as the 1st ASEAN Schools Track and Field Championships in September. Maswafieyuddin is hoping to shake off the jitters and produce a good time.
"My target is to break my personal best but I'm feeling nervous since this is my first time at such a big competition," said the 17-year-old, whose best time is 23.8 seconds. Muhd Anaqi Danish Ashrin is the only Bruneian fencer for the Games and he will compete in the Sabre event.
The 14-year-old represented the Sultanate at the 2nd Asian Youth Games also in Nanjing back in October where he made to the third round. He is looking forward to the event and is ready to give his all for the competition. "InsyaAllah, I'm ready," said Muhd Anaqi Danish.
"Training has been good and I always aim for gold. I know that it is going to be tough but most importantly I just want to put up my best performance," he added. National fencing coach Rocky Poerawinata is pleased with Muhd Anaqi Danish's progress over the past three years but is looking at the bigger picture.
"We're expecting athletes from all around the world competing and I'm expecting the best out of Danish," said Rocky. "Based on his performance at the Asian Youth Games last year, I believe he has a bright future in the sport," he added. "There are a lot of new faces training on the squad now and we are preparing early for the 2019 SEA Games," concluded the Indonesian.
Also present to bid farewell to the contingent was Zheng Xianglin, the Chinese Ambassador to Brunei.