Mohd Adi Sya’rani Roslan performing a routine during the 28th SEA Games in the men’s optional broadsword event in Hall 2 of the Singapore Expo on June 7, 2015. Picture: BT file
Some of the wushu athletes in training yesterday at the Multipurpose Hall of the Menglait Sports Complex. Picture: BT/Yee Chun Leong
THERE is simply no time to rest for the national wushu team.
They have not taken a break or a holiday, and national wushu coach Li Hui is looking forward to another successful year ahead. The Chinese national has already set some targets for the team and is putting most of the emphasis on bringing up the level of the sport in the country.
"My first target is the 16th Sukan Malaysia (SUKMA) in Kuching, Malaysia in July," said Li in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday. "This is for the new athletes, and we are targeting to finish in the top-three.
"Then there are also both the Asian Wushu Championships in Chinese Taipei and the 6th World Junior Championships in Bulgaria. "We have continued training with no break because that is the way for us to catch up with other countries.
"We started off in the sport a bit later compared to other countries, so we needed to keep training while others were resting," continued Li. The wear and tear from years of hard work took its toll on them last year as they produced their worst showing in four appearances at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after returning from Singapore with two bronze medals.
The national team won one silver and one bronze in their debut in 2009 at Laos and produced the same two years later in Indonesia. Their SEA Games highlight came in 2013 where they struck gold after Lee YingShi and Faustina Woo Wai Sii finished at the top of the podium in the women’s duilian (duo sparring with boardsword and spear) event.
Expectations were high again last year, but they scored 9.64 to finish in third position. Myanmar’s Myint Aye Thit Sar and Phyo Myat Thet Su Wai were the surprise package to win the gold on 9.69.
The Singapore pair of Emily Sin Min Li and Zoe Mui Wei Ting settled for the silver losing out by 0.01. The other bronze was courtesy of brothers Mohd Sufi Shayiran and Mohd Adi Sya’rani Roslan after they scored 9.68 points to land in third position in the men’s duilian.
Singapore’s Jesse Colin Adalia, Lee Zhe Xuan and Lim Si Wei finished on top of the podium on 9.72 while the silver medal went to the Philippines’ Norlence Ardee Catolico, John Keithley Chan and Daniel Parantac who were 0.02 points back. Regardless, Li was satisfied with the overall progress of the squad last year.
"In terms of results for our new students, 2015 was a good improvement. Even though it was the first time for us in the men’s duilian event at the SEA Games, we still managed to get third and that is a good result," said Li. "As for the women’s duilian event, Faustina was injured and we didn’t want to aggravate it further and result in insufficient training.
"But overall, it was still a satisfactory year for us, especially with the nurturing of the new athletes," he added. The national wushu coach also revealed that they are applying to host the Asian Junior Wushu Championships next year. "We want to have the championships in Brunei. That is the way for our youth to improve and it will be an eye opener," explained Li.
"Other Asian countries will know more about Brunei and it will be great to be able to organise it," he concluded. The country hosted the 2nd Brunei Wushu Championships last month, the two-day tournament attracting competitors from Kuching, Miri and Sibu - as well as teams from all four Bruneian districts. Brunei-Muara’s nine athletes powered their way to top spot after claiming 14 gold medals at the Mumong Sport Complex in Kuala Belait.
Kuching were second with six gold medals while Sibu were third with four gold medals. "One of the main goals of having the Brunei championships in Belait for two times now is to see what other athletes are out here in Brunei. We are looking for raw talent which we can develop," said Li after the tournament.