| Fadhil Yunus |
THE Brunei Darussalam contingent for the 2nd Asian Para Games in Incheon received a heroes’ welcome yesterday.
Datin Hjh Shireen binti Hj Mustapha, Senior Special Duties Officer at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, greeted the contingent led by Chef-De-Mission Mohd Nasrullah El-Hakiem Mohammed.
“Alhamdulillah, our contingent won a bronze medal each in javelin and bowling,” said Mohd Nasrullah El- Hakiem yesterday.
“Shari Juma’at finished top of his own category but was third overall in the combined group for javelin.”
The trio of Muhammad Jamary Danggat, Kamarul Ariffin bin Hj Abdul Ghaffar and Saidin bin Haji Damit bagged the bronze for bowling in in their Games debut.
“It was the first time Brunei sent a team for a bowling event. Alhamdulillah, we won a bronze.
“Our contingent is grateful because we were one of the best Southeast Asian teams.
“We also provided competition against teams like South Korea and Chinese Taipei.
“Considering the competition and increased number of participants, it has to be said that our contingent performed very well,” he added.
Brunei’s meteoric rise, particularly in the bowling event, depicts a real underdog story.
Brunei’s exploits in the mixed team bowling event were unprecedented.
Such was the quality and the impact of Brunei’s performance in the competition that it won the hearts of both the home supporters and the participating countries that regularly plays at the top level.
A coach from one of the participating countries was so impressed that they came over and offered their insights to the Brunei’s team.
“We performed at such a high level that we even managed to beat Singapore and Malaysia,” said Mohd Nasrullah El-Hakiem.
“This is not the end of our efforts. We’ve learnt from our experiences and, Insya Allah, Brunei can become a stronger force to be reckoned with.”
The team’s next aim is the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.
Brunei were leading by only six pins in the first game to Malaysia but gained a remarkable 100-point gap in the second before the deficit was cut to 80 in the third.
Brunei eventually secured the bronze medal and finished well above Malaysia by 77 points.
“Our coach asked us to maintain the score when we found out that we were third,” said one of the medallists. “We were the underdogs and even our Korean coach who used to train us was astonished that we were able to compete at such a high level.
“Hopefully in the Asean Para Games in Singapore, we can emulate this success.”