National swimming team get sponsorship boost

|     Fadhil Yunus     |

THE national swimming team which will be competing in the three-day 41st Southeast Asia (SEA) Age Group Swimming Championships starting on November 12 received a sponsorship boost in terms of apparel and accessories during an attire handover ceremony held at the International School Brunei yesterday.

On hand to receive the apparel and accessories was the President of Brunei Amateur Swimming Association (BASA) Aziz Latip.

The president also presented the apparel and accessories to all nine national swimmers representing the country.

Representing on behalf of Gator Sports Brunei was Abdul Mu’iz bin Haji Sahrani while Globex Global Logistics Sdn Bhd was represented by Dayangku Nurhidayu binti Pengiran Haji Saidi and Imperial Sports represented by Haji Yadie Riyadi bin Haji Bakri.

The swimmers are Nur Haziq Samil, Dylan Chua Chen Yee, Justin Lim, Chan Zeke, Breanna Lee Le Er, Natasha Sia, Andra Chai, Ashley Chai, Natasha Sia and Emma Yusuf.
Nur Haziq and Ashley Chai will be the more experienced swimmers at least at international level with the former having been a veteran with four tournaments and also represented the country in the Asian Age Group Swimming Championships.

Ashley has already represented the country notably at the Samoa Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia in 2015. She will be competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly events.

The national swimming team in a group photo. – KHAIRIL HASSAN

Both swimmers will be looking to improve their personal best (PB) in the competitive meet which attracted the best young talents from Southeast Asia.

Nur Haziq, who is a national record holder in the 50m backstroke, will be competing in 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle events which he described as his pet event.

With the competition accredited as a prequalifying meet for next Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2018, Nur Haziq will try his utmost best to make the cut.

Ashley will be hoping to make the top five during the heats and if it could not be achieved, she has an objective to at least improve her personal best during the competition.

The 16-year old has only been recovering from an injury early this year and has worked tirelessly in time for the competitive meet.

“My coach pushed me even harder than before because lately I’ve been stagnant. I’ve been injured beginning this year and it was a bad injury because I tore my quad muscles so it took me months to recover,” said Ashley.

“When I recover, I do not feel 100 per cent. Now, I’m getting back to my usual time and now I want to better it,” said the national swimmer who is trained by Victor Tan of (Royal Brunei Recreational Club (RBRC).

Asked on how she feels being a part in an international meet which she is already familiar with the scene in past years, Ashley said: “I’m excited and nervous.”

Another national swimmer, Dylan Chua, who will be competing in most of the breaststroke event, highlighted the heightened intensity of the training which indicated how hard they have trained in view of the SEA Age Group Swimming Championships.

“The preparations have been tough because we have been training like crazy since a month before the competition. Basically there was no rest period until last week,” said Dylan who swims for the Dolphin Swimming Club at club level.

Dylan has also already participated in the SEA Age Group Swimming Championships in previous edition as well as an outing at the Asean School Games.

“It’s been ten times harder and usually normal training wouldn’t be this tough but then we had to get prepared for this competition.”

“There were a few times where I want to give up and drop out from the competition but then I already set my goals and didn’t want to give up,” he concluded.

Breanna Lee Le Er is among the youngest members in the national team and has posted impressive results during the Brunei Open recently.

“I have been in the recent Brunei Open and I got one gold, two silver and two bronze. I beat all my PBs as well and the other competition that I did was the Singapore Swimming Invitational. A lot of countries participated in it like Thailand, Vietnam and Japan,” she said.

The 10 year old, who will be competing in the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly events, said, “I’m really excited and nervous at the same time because when I look at the sheet of the names that I’m facing, they’re really fast.”

Emma Yusuf, who will be performing in the breaststroke events namely the 50m, 100m and 200m, shared that she has competed in Labuan with her club.

Asked what her expectations are, Emma said: “I’m expecting to make my times better. It will be very challenging because most of these swimmers are at a very high level.”

“I’m nervous but I’m very excited of actually representing Brunei,” continued the young swimmer.

Natasha Sia, who will be competing in the 100m backstroke, 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke and 100m freestyle, said that it is her first year competing in the SEAAG Swimming Championships and will be aiming to gain experience in the international meet.

“I thought swimming was hard before but when you’re training for a competition it is even harder,” said Natasha.

She identified the 50m freestyle as her favourite event and highlighted that sprinting is her favourite skills in the event.