THE fifth Commonwealth Youth Games kicked off yesterday with 2,000 young cast members and teachers from 13 different Samoan schools taking centre stage.
The event started with the parade of nations with the previous hosts in 2011 - Isle of Man, United Kingdom - given the honour to enter the field of play first. The seven-member Brunei contingent was led by Muhd Ammar Safwan Hj Zaidin, who will see action in the 400m event, as the flag bearer into the Apia Park Stadium.
The Games were then officially declared open by the Samoan Head of State Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi followed by fireworks and lighting display. A celebration of Samoan culture ensued after the formalities - the first themed "Traditional Samoa" and the other "New Contemporary Samoa".
The former told the Creation Mythology of Samoa with Tagaloalagi and the creation of the nine heavens through traditional dances and songs. The latter was a fun setting of present day Samoa reflecting the spirit of the people.
According to the Games website, the competition will feature 904 athletes from 66 Commonwealth countries aiming for 107 gold medals in nine sports - aquatics, archery, athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rugby sevens, squash, tennis and weightlifting.
Brunei is represented by four athletes at the Sept 5-11 competition. Muhammad Wafiq Kifli and Ernie Sahrina Abdul Fattah are the other two set to take part in athletics, which is accompanied by national jumping coach Joseph Kameni.
The former will compete in the long jump event while Ernie Sahrina in the shot put event. Swimmer Ashley Chai will see action in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke events and she is accompanied by her coach Victor Tan of Royal Brunei Recreation Club (RBRC).
The sporting events will only begin tomorrow. This is the third time that the Sultanate is participating in the Games with the first time in 2008 in Pune, India.
They last competed in 2011 with runner Rozmacynthia Simbilan and swimmers Anderson Lim and Florence Sea representing the country at the Isle of Man.