Brunei National Lawn Bowls Association (BDNLBA) Vice President Mohd Noor Hj Abdullah (L) and national lawn bowler Abdul Rahman Hj Omar pose for a photo at the 11th Asian Lawn Bowls Championships yesterday. Picture: BT/Nadzirah Malek-Webb
BRUNEI progressed into the semi-finals of the men’s pairs and triples category at the 11th Asian Lawn Bowls Championships after beating Sri Lanka 28-6 and 32-3 respectively yesterday.
The duo of the senior national lawn bowlers Hj Naim Brahim and Mohd Israt Amiruddin Hj Abdul Ghani remained unbeaten in the men’s pairs category after five games and will face either China or Hong Kong in today’s semi-final at the Lawn Bowls Arena of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas at 3pm.
Meanwhile in the triples category, Brunei only lost one of their five matches - their sole defeat coming when they fell 17-15 to Malaysia during Sunday’s opening day.
The trio of Abdul Rahman Hj Omar, Ampuan Ahad Ampuan Hj Kassim and Pg Hj Tengah Pg Hj Tajuddin bounced back and went on to win all their remaining matches before securing their place in today’s semi-finals, where they will face either Malaysia or Thailand.
Brunei National Lawn Bowls Association (BDNLBA) Vice President Mohd Noor Hj Abdullah is confident that the sultanate will progress into the finals in the men’s pairs and triples category. Abdul Rahman’s bronze medal at the previous edition in 2014 was the country’s only podium finish at Shenzhen, China, and Mohd Noor is expecting the veteran to deliver once again.
“Abdul Rahman got us the only medal from China in 2014, and he has been on fire this year,” Mohd Noor told The Brunei Times in a post-match interview yesterday. “He is pushing 60 now, but each year he keeps getting better and better. We can see him bringing us several medals, this time but we shall see.
“We did exceptionally well today (yesterday) as we went unbeaten (in the pairs and triples category)… and we are targeting the finals this year,” he added. With a total of 11 nations competing in the tournament, Mohd Noor hailed Malaysia as their toughest opponent due to their younger athletes, and he hopes BDNLBA will be able to recruit and groom more young players as part of their long term team development.
“Malaysia are tough because they have young players with better strength and stamina, which we are lacking,” Mohd Noor said. “Most of our players are in their 50s and 60s, and that is worrying. We want to bring the sport up in the nation and the best way is to build interest with the younger generation. “We have a great chance of getting medals than some sports in Brunei, but without having young players to take our place, we will end here,” he added.
The team is set to compete in the World Bowls Championships to be held in New Zealand in November after concluding their Asia Pacific Championships campaign in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month.
The team automatically qualified for the World Bowls Championships after finishing in the top eight at the Asia Pacific Championships.
“We have big plans this year such as the World Bowls Championships, but that is too far ahead. For now, we will focus on this tournament and we shall see how we will do,” Mohd Noor said. The women’s fours and singles group stages will continue today at 8am at the Lawn Bowls Arena of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
Meanwhile, the 9th Asian Under-25 Singles Lawn Bowls Championships saw the boy’s end the day in fifth place after losing 21-12 against Malaysia. The girl’s team are also fifth after losing 21-7 to Thailand.