The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof (R) speaks to the country’s Rio Olympics contingent at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas last night. Picture: BT/Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
THE Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof yesterday lauded the national athletes’ efforts at the Rio Olympics.
The contingent returned home to a warm welcome by family and friends at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas last night. The sultanate was represented by sprinters Md Fakhri Ismail and Maizurah Abdul Rahim and shuttler Jaspar Yu Woon Chai at the biggest sporting stage in the world in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.
“I believe that each one of our athletes have achieved something in Rio,” said YB Pehin Dato Hj Awang Halbi in an interview with The Brunei Times last night. “For example Fakhri… He managed to get past the preliminary round and progress to the first round. “Jaspar faced world class opponents in his matches and it is no shame at all to lose with double digit scores.
“And for Maizurah, she is still very young at 17 and is only going to get better with this experience,” he added. Yu (pic) was the first to take the field for Brunei, opening his campaign with a 21-16, 21-15 defeat to World No 12 Hu Yun of Hong Kong in their Group D men’s singles event. The 27-year-old then fell to a 21-12, 21-10 loss to World No 34 Pablo Abian of Spain in his second game.
National 100m record holder Md Fakhri managed to progress to the first round of the 100m event by clocking 10.95s in Heat 1 of the tournament proper after impressing in the preliminary round. Meanwhile, Maizurah finished with a time of 28.02s in Heat 8 of the opening round of the 200m event to finish at the bottom of the 72-competitor field.
The minister then reminded the athletes to maintain their standard as the country’s Olympians to work harder and achieve better results in the future. “The important thing now coming from the Olympics is that they now have gained invaluable experience, and I hope this will be the start of a long journey for them to achieve much better results in the future,” continued the minister.
“The Olympics was a big exposure for these athletes and now they have to maintain their standard as Olympians. “I hope that these Olympians will continue to set good examples and be a good role model for the public, and I am very sure that the younger generation of athletes will be inspired and motivated to strive,” he added.
Both Md Fakhri and Maizurah participated under the universality places which the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) opened to countries with no qualified athletes. Yu, meanwhile, was awarded one of the three Tripartite Commission Invitation places.