“STAGE set for Borneo Cup” was the headline on a sports page of the Borneo Bulletin on October 24, 2014, as it was held the following day at the BAB Court, Jalan Batu Bersurat, Gadong.
The teams were Miri, Labuan and Kota Kinabalu.
Being an ex-official of one of the sporting bodies in Brunei Darussalam, I understand that an instruction was given by the relevant government agency that no national sports association should hold any tournament in the name of Borneo Cup after Borneo Games was introduced, which was a team event comprising sports such as athletics, swimming, under-23 football, sepak takraw, hockey, martial arts among others.
Participating teams came from Negara Brunei Darussalam, Sabah and Sarawak. Later Kalimantan Timor and Kalimantan Barat were included.
More than 20 years ago, of course, there was Borneo Cup comprising football, hockey, sepak takraw, etc.
The Borneo Cup was changed to Inter Clubs of Borneo where football and hockey were played, but still the Challenge Trophy was called the Borneo Cup.
The so-called Borneo Games originated in the 50s and comprised only athletics and was contested between the State of Brunei, Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah) and held alternately every year in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) and Bandar Brunei (now BSB). In Brunei it was held at Padang Besar, Bandar Brunei (now Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien) and later held in Seria at Sports Arena built by BMP (now BSP). Sports Arena was at Lorong 3 Seria about half a mile from Seria Town.
The Sports Arena was built in 1956 or 1957 and was handed over to the government to be under Jabatan Kebajikan Belia dan Sukan (formed in 1974) and later JKBS was known as Jabatan Belia dan Sukan (Youth and Sports Department).
Now JBS is under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
Some of the well known athletes from Brunei were Zunaidi Hamdan (Hop Step and Jump and 100 yards), the late Catherine Teo (100 yards), Lim Geok Kheng (200 yards), Onn Timbang (Pole Vault), Rani Metassim (Hurdles) and A Saibidol, a Sabahan who worked in BSP and participated in Discus, Javelin and Shot Put.
The Borneo Games was discontinued in 1965. It was revived as a contingent sports a few years later and Brunei was the host in 2008.
Coming to the Borneo Cup Basketball, it is surprising to see it making a comeback. It should not be called Borneo Cup because the teams participating are only from Miri Town, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. It should be called “Inter Town Cup”.
– Ex-Sports Man, BSB