National sepak takraw coach Rawat Parbchompoo interviewed by The Brunei Times. BT/Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, YB Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof (R) handing over the national flag to Brunei’s chef de mission to the 5th Asian Beach Games, Kifli Hj Jaafar, at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday. BT/Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, YB Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof delivering His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council’s sabda on his behalf during the flag handing over ceremony for the national contingent to the 5th Asian Beach Games at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday. BT/Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
HIS Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC), is hoping for another golden performance from the national sepak takraw team at this week’s 5th Asian Beach Games in Vietnam.
The only sport representing the country this year, the national sepak takraw team created history in the previous edition of the Games two years ago in Thailand when they beat South Korea 2-1 in men’s trio event to win Brunei’s maiden gold medal at the biennial event.
Brunei will be sending a small contingent of six athletes to compete in two sepak takraw categories; trio and regu. The country will be represented by Abdul Hadi Ariffin Metali, Ismail Ang, Jati Hidayat Saidi, Shukri Jaineh and Mohd Alifuddin Jamaluddin.
Senior players Mohd Hafizzuddin Jamaludin, Nur Alimin Sunggoh, Jamaluddin Hj Marzi — who were part of the team that won gold medal in Phuket in 2014 — have been left out of this year’s squad.
“I would like to congratulate all the sepak takraw athletes for being selected to represent the country at the Asian Beach Games, and it is hoped that they will be able to maintain their achievement of winning the gold medal during the fourth edition of Asian Beach Game held in Phuket Thailand in 2014,” said HRH in his sabda delivered by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof yesterday.
“Even though we are only sending one sport to the Games this year, I believe that all the athletes chosen are the best and highly experienced in the events that they will be competing in… And with their high competitive spirit, I am very sure that they will be able to perform well.
“As we all know, the Asian Beach Games is organised once every two years, and this time, Vietnam will be hosting it in Danang… The Games is one of the most important events in the Olympics Council of Asia (OCA) and as a member of the council, it is our responsibility to participate in this prestigious event”
“I urge all the athletes to carry out their responsibility by giving their best and staying focused during the competition. What is most important is for the team to be focused on working together and committed to accomplish success and bring good name to the country,” he added during the flag handing ceremony at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
HRH also conveyed his appreciation to the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports for its help and assistance to enable the country to participate in the Games.
After delivering HRH’s sabda, YB Pehin Dato Hj Awg Halbi later presented the national flag to the chef de mission, Head of Sports Coaching and Development Unit, Kifli Hj Jaafar, who is also the president of Brunei Athletics Association (BAA).
National coach Rawat Parbchompoo — who took charge of the team for the first time when they won the 2014 gold medal — does not want to put unnecessary pressure on his team ahead of the Sept 24-Oct 3 competition.
“They (the players) have been training since February, and of course, they are ready now,” said Rawat in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
“The players have been working very hard for the past few months. I do not want to set any target yet, but I am sure they will be giving their best for Brunei at the competition.
“Thailand, Myanmar and Korea are the strongest teams in this tournament… Though we have a very young squad this time, I hope we will be able to give a challenge.
“Beach takraw is different from the normal takraw which is played in a court.
“The service is made outside the box, which is almost similar to volleyball where the service is also made outside. So we have been focusing on that over the past few months,” he added.