Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman (C), presents the national flag to the chef de mission to the 5th Commonwealth Youth Games, Mariam Ulat, prior to the contingent's departure at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas yesterday. The Sultanate will be represented by four athletes at the Sept 5-11 competition in Samoa. BT/Yee Chun Leong
Swimmer Ashley Chai (L) and her coach Victor Tan pose for a photo. BT/Yee Chun Leong
(L-R) Muhd Ammar Safwan Hj Zaidin, national jumping coach Kameni Joseph, Muhammad Wafiq Kifli and Ernie Sahrina Abdul Fattah pose for a photo at the Brunei International Airport prior to leaving for Samoa yesterday. BT/Yee Chun Leong
ATHLETES flying the Brunei flag at the 5th Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa are looking to better their personal bests.
The Sultanate will be represented by the trio of Muhd Ammar Safwan Hj Zaidin, Muhammad Wafiq Kifli and Ernie Sahrina Abdul Fattah in athletics and swimmer Ashley Chai at the Sept 5-11 competition.
Chef de mission Mariam Ulat, who received the national flag from Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman prior to departure at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas yesterday, hopes that the Under-18 athletes will be able to produce some good results.
"We know it will be very competitive but we hope they can achieve something. They have been training on a regular basis and this is a good exposure for them," said Mariam.
"We hope they can strive for a better result. This is a good opportunity for them and they should grab it," she added.
Muhd Ammar Safwan will be competing in the 400me event and his best time is 51.54s, which he achieved two weeks ago at the Thailand Sports School Games.
The 16-year-old is hoping that he will be able to hit the 50-second mark this time around.
"I was initially trying to get to 49 seconds, but looking at my progression I'm hoping that I can go for 50 seconds," said Muhd Ammar Safwan.
"I'm confident about it and hopefully I will be able to achieve it," he added.
Ernie Sahrina will see action in the shot putt event, and her personal best is 7.41m achieved in May.
The Tutong-native has been putting in the work and hopes that she can get a further throw.
"I'm aiming to set a new personal best there. I'm feeling a little nervous though but training was alright and I'm feeling confident," said Ernie Sahrina.
National jumping coach Joseph Kameni will act as the coach for both the athletes and he hopes that all three will be able to learn some new things at the competition.
"All of them are first timers in participating in such an event. It will be interesting with so many continents involved," said Joseph.
"We are there to gain some experience at the international level. I want them to know how to face this kind of pressure and I can only advise them on what they can do.
"I want to see the fighting spirit no matter what ranking we end up with. This is a good opportunity to do something special," continued the Cameroonian.
Chai, who is the youngest representative at 13-years-old, will compete in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke events.
She currently holds the national open record for the 200m event with a time of 2.41.12 and the Jerudong International School (JIS) student is looking to go all out.
"I'm feeling the pressure but I'm also excited in hopes of producing my best. I just want to do the best and that is all I can do," said Chai.
She will be accompanied by her coach Victor Tan of the Royal Brunei Recreational Club (RBRC) and he expects a tough outing.
"This is a big challenge as this is the first big meet for Ashley. We can only do our best and not lose without a fight... That is most important," said Tan, who has groomed the likes of national swimmers Maria Grace Koh, Amanda Liew and Christian Nikles in their younger years.
"The level of competition is higher than that of the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games and we didn't send any swimmers to compete then.
"It will be hard to get a medal but we are looking at an improvement in time. We have prepared well despite having to juggle between studies and training," concluded Tan.
This is the third time that the Sultanate will send a contingent to the Games having participated for the first time in 2008 in Pune, India.
They last participated in 2011 with runner Rozmacynthia Simbilan and swimmers Anderson Lim and Florence Sea representing the country at the Isle of Man, United Kingdom.