Yuki Ida, First Secretary of Embassy of Japan; national shuttler Jaspar Yu Woon Chai; Zafri Hj Mohammad, Acting Director at the Department of Youth and Sports, and Hj Antin Ahad, president of the Brunei Darussalam National Badminton Association, pose for a photo at the Lecture Room of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium yesterday. Picture: BT/Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
BRUNEI is set to welcome Japan’s national badminton team as part of the Brunei-Japan badminton exchange programme co-organised by the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Embassy of Japan.
Held to commemorate His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 70th birthday celebration, the four day-day event will begin on Monday.
The main highlight of the event will be practice games between Japan’s national team and the sultanate’s top shuttlers at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas on Tuesday and Wednesday. The games start at 8pm and the public are welcome to attend the event where the admission is free.
Japan will be led by world no 24 Sho Sasaki, who featured in two Olympics (2012 London and 2016 Rio), while Brunei will be spearheaded by Rio Olympian Jaspar Yu Woon Chai.
The rest of the Japanese team includes Miyuki Kato, Kenya Mitsuhashi, Yu Igarashi and Miki Kashihara. “I have never played against Sho Sasaki before but I have met him when I was in Rio… it will be a very good opportunity to play against him and the rest of the Japanese team,” said Yu during the press conference at the Lecture Room of Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.
“I hope everyone who is interested in the sport could come to watch the games. We will also organise a number of clinics for the public to participate in,” added Yu.
Among the other activities that will be covered during the exchange programme include a number of visits to schools and coaching sessions with selected students.
Also present during the press conference yesterday were Zafri Hj Mohammad, Acting Director at the Department of Youth and Sports, Yuki Ida, the First Secretary of Embassy of Japan and Hj Antin Ahad the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Badminton Association (BDNBA).
The sport exchange is a part of Japan Prime Minister Abe’s ‘Sport for Tomorrow’ initiative, which aims to promote sport to over 10 million people in over 100 nations until 2020 when Japan host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.