Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Brunei’s wait for the Olympics glory
Friday, April 3, 2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic recently claimed its biggest sporting casualty as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chiefs pulled the plug on the Olympic Games in Tokyo which were scheduled this summer and postponing them to next year.

Brunei Darussalam was waiting to record their seventh appearance in the multi-sporting showpiece with competitors in athletics and swimming the usual suspects of seeing representation for the country.

The Olympics, held once every four years, represents the grandest of stages for every athlete and an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and compete against the best athletes in their field.

Ideally, in preparation for the competition the Tokyo meet will be ingrained in the mind of every leading athlete in the country determined to gain selection.

Places have been limited because of tough qualifying requirements but there is still a route through a wildcard entry.

There are only a few athletes from the Sultanate who can lay claim to the title of ‘Olympian’ since Brunei first joined the event in 1988.

During that time, there was no athlete and only one official was sent to Seoul.

The most number of athletes that Brunei has sent is three in both 2012 and 2016 while the most number of sports which an athlete has been involved in at a single Olympics is two.

Four athletes who specialised in athletics were bestowed the honour of being a flag-bearer as well as one flag-bearer who took part in shooting.

The first Bruneian Olympian was Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Abdul Hakeem in shooting in 1996 in Atlanta, the United States (US). Yang Amat Mulia made his second appearance at the Games four years later in Sydney, Australia.

Yang Amat Mulia was the country’s first ever flag-bearer before Haseri Asli was given the honour four years later in his Olympic debut.

In 2000, former national sprinter Haseri became the first local athlete in athletics to take part in the Olympics when he was registered in the 100m event.

While Haseri took part in short distance running, Jimmy anak Ahar became the first national athlete who specialises in middle-distance running to add the experience of competing in the Olympics to his CV.

Jimmy, who was also the designated flag-bearer, was the sole competitor to represent the country and took pride competing in and completing the 1,500 event at the Athens Olympic Stadium.

Brunei’s next participation in the Olympics was in 2012 in London after missing out on the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The country sent three athletes including two in athletics – Awangku Hafiy Tajuddin bin Rositi and Maziah binti Mahusin – and one in swimming – Anderson Lim.

The country achieved further history with Maziah becoming the first female Bruneian to join the Olympics while Anderson became the first national swimmer to swim at the Olympics.

With the world watching, the athletes performed with high spirits as Maziah posted a new national record in the women’s 400m with a time of 59.28s at the newly-built Olympic Stadium in the east end of London.

Anderson also etched his name into the country’s record books in swimming after posting a new national record in the 200m freestyle with a time of 2:02.26s. He was also the youngest ever competitor to represent the country at the age of just 16.

With the quota very limited and dependent on meeting the qualifying times, Brunei managed to send three first-time athletes to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Brunei’s runner Mohammad Fakhri bin Ismail has been in good form after impressive outings at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore and the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing.

In the build-up to the Olympics, Mohd Fakhri reached the final in the SEA Games and qualified to the heats in the world meet.

The national sprinter continued to impress after he advanced into the Olympics heats, the first national runner to do so after posting one of the qualified times with 10.92s.

Maizurah binti Abdul Rahim became the youngest female to represent the country in the women’s 200m at the age of 17, replacing Maziah who went to the championships at 19.

Meanwhile, Jaspar Yu Woon Chai became the first badminton athlete from the country to take part in the Olympics.

Courtesy from Borneo Bulletin