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Brunei’s historic Asiad silver rewards Chinese wushu coach’s efforts
Sunday, October 1, 2023
Coaches Li Hui and Zhao Chunjie with Brunei’s wushu star Basma Lachkar. PHOTO: LI HUI

HANGZHOU (XINHUA) – For Brunei’s wushu coach Li Hui, the historic silver medal claimed by Basma Lachkar in the Taijiquan and Taijijian All-Round event marks the culmination of a 17-year journey.

Li arrived in Brunei in 2006 as part of a wushu demonstration team, celebrating 15 years of diplomatic relations between China and the Southeast Asian nation.

Impressed by the display, Brunei’s representatives approached Li to establish a wushu programme in the country and lead it as its head coach. This endeavour was primarily fuelled by Li’s personality and dedication to his role. He remarked: “In Brunei, we essentially started from scratch. Initially, we could only attract six or seven children who had no prior knowledge of wushu. I visited local schools to provide wushu demonstrations, helping people grasp the essence of this martial art.”

Over time, Li’s programme began to draw more students, and today, Brunei’s athletes are competitive on the international stage. Li proudly shared that “now we have over 70 individuals in training, and wushu has become a well-known sport in Brunei. Unlike the initial phase when people were unfamiliar with it, now everyone recognises wushu and understands Chinese kung fu. This is truly remarkable”.

Under Li’s guidance, all members of Brunei’s wushu squad in Hangzhou have developed their skills, and his years of dedication bore fruit when Lachkar secured Brunei’s first Asian Games silver medal in any sport last Sunday. Previously, Brunei had won four bronze medals in the Asiad, the most recent being Tong Kit Siong’s karate bronze in 2002.

Li expressed his elation at his protégée’s achievement, calling it “a genuine breakthrough, our best result thus far”.

Lachkar isn’t the sole success story among Li’s students in the international arena.

Mohammad Adi Salihin bin Roslan, a three-time Southeast Asian Games champion, is also competing in Hangzhou.

While Roslan’s chances of securing a podium finish remain uncertain at this stage, his deep affection for Li is evident.

“I’m not anticipating a medal; I simply aim to bring joy to my coach by demonstrating my progress,” he said.

Courtesy from Borneo Bulletin