National lawn bowler Abd Rahman Hj Omar in action during Tuesday’s men’s triples semi-final against Malaysia at the 11th Asian Lawn Bowls Championships. Picture: BT/Khaliq Roziman and Yusri Adanan
Pg Hj Md Salleh Pg Hj Chuchu (L) and other teammates react after beating China in their men’s fours event yesterday. Picture: BT/Khaliq Roziman and Yusri Adanan
ABD Rahman Hj Omar got Brunei off to a strong start in the 11th Asian Lawn Bowls Championships men’s singles event after winning both of his opening matches yesterday.
After edging Singapore’s Terrence Lee 19-18, Abd Rahman – who won Brunei’s only medal at the last edition of the tournament in 2014 – went on to hammer China’s Zhang Bo Wen 21-2. Speaking to The Brunei Times yesterday, team manager Pg Hj Md Salleh Pg Hj Chuchu praised Abd Rahman’s strong form and hopes his winning momentum will continue in his next match against Japan at 8am today before playing two more games tomorrow,
“Abd Rahman had a fantastic day today and winning against a tough opponent like Singapore’s Lee by one shot gave us the confidence that he can go all the way,” he said in an interview at the Lawn Bowls Arena of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas. “He then battered China by 19 points! That showed us that he is definitely on a hot streak. We hope he can keep this momentum tomorrow (today),” he added.
Abd Rahman’s bronze medal at the 2014 edition of the tournament in Shenzhen, China, was the country’s only medal at the Asian meet - which ended the country’s six-year medal drought at the time. Prior to the tournament in China, Abd Rahman and Hj Naim Brahim won gold in the men’s pairs event at the sixth Asian Lawn Bowls Championships in 2007.
“Abd Rahman is one of the most experienced and strongest players here. The expectations on him are high, but he has his way of dealing with pressure and he has delivered - so I know he will not disappoint,” Pg Hj Md Salleh said. Competing in the men’s fours event, Pg Hj Md Salleh, Mohd Huzaimi Mohd Salleh, Mohd Israt Amiruddin Hj Abd Ghani and Mohd Ali Hj Bujang had a mixed start after they beat Malaysia 21-11 before going down 14-10 to China. “We didn’t really have a good day today in the men’s fours... At this point in the tournament, it’s anyone’s game,” Pg Hj Md Salleh said.
“We will face Singapore in our next match and we have to really focus on them,” he added. The country’s women’s team also had a mixed outing. Pg Hj Mohd Salleh’s daughter Dk Nurul Nabilah and Esmawandy Ibrahim sealed a 15-14 win over India in the women’s pairs event while Hjh Amalia Hj Matali, Suhana Hj Md Daud and Hjh Ajijah Muntol lost to Hong Kong 16-6 in the women’s triples event a day after winning the country’s first-ever gold medal in the women’s fours category with Nur Uzma Khadijah Ibrahim.
“Dk Nurul Nabilah and Esmawandy had a very close game, but a win is a win and we hope they can improve their performance in their next match against the powerhouses Malaysia tomorrow,” Pg Hj Md Salleh said yesterday. “We had bad luck in the women’s triples event, but I know the ladies can shake it off tomorrow in their match against Thailand. Thailand will be tough, but I’m sure they can do it,” he concluded.
The men’s fours event will start 8am while the women’s pairs and triples event will both start at 3pm. The 9th Asian Under-25 Singles Lawn Bowls Championships will also start at 3pm, when the nation’s mixed pairs will face China.