Minister officiates sailing championship

James Kon

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin yesterday congratulated the Brunei Darussalam Yachting Association (BDYA) for having its own building and hosting the inaugural BDYA Sailing Championship 2019 currently taking place at Serasa Beach.

The minister as the guest of honour officiated the inaugural BDYA Sailing Championship 2019 by sounding off the horn in an opening ceremony.

Organising Committee Chairman and BDYA Deputy President Muhammad Fadzlin bin Hassan in his speech said, “The BDYA has come a long way since its establishment in the mid-1990s. With the commitment and perseverance of the president and committee members, the association finally has a place to call home.

“Today, we will not only be witnessing the inaugural BDYA Sailing Championship 2019 but also the opening ceremony of its own building.” He also expressed his deepest gratitude to BDYA President Dato Paduka Haji Idris bin Haji Abas for his never-ending support in the development of water sports in the country.

He also highlighted that the admission of Brunei Darussalam as the member national authorities of world sailing in October 2016 served as proof of commitment and as a milestone in the BDYA’s history to make Brunei a force to reckon with in the sport of sailing.

ABOVE & BELOW: Guest of honour Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin sounds off the horn in an opening ceremony to officiate the Brunei Darussalam Yachting Association (BDYA) Sailing Championship 2019; and young sailors off to an exhibition sailing. PHOTOS: JAMES KON

In the inaugural BDYA Sailing Championship 2019, Muhammad Fadzlin said, “We will see participation of sailors from Malaysia and our local sailing clubs over the period of three days.

“The first day of the event held yesterday (Friday) saw participants sailing from Pantai Serasa to and from Pulau Chermin with a distance of over 15 kilometres.

“This is not a small feat as techniques and endurance play a major role. But today, the event will consist of series of short races where those with strategy and tactics can dominate and outwit their opponents.

“The combination of a long race and multiple short races throughout this three-day event is designed to test the decision-making skill of our local sailors against others that ultimately would serve as a benchmarking process for our national team selection.”

BDYA President Dato Paduka Haji Idris in his remark said, “The BDYA has been established for some time ago and our mission is to promote water sports in Brunei Darussalam such as windsurfing, boat surfing, sailing and others.

“The BDYA is a member of the World Sailing Federation, ASEAN Sailing Federation and we are also sanctioned by the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC). Therefore, we are happy that many clubs are supporting us and sending our sailors to international events.”

He added, “Our plan is to get more training for our sailors, especially the young sailors. Normally one can get started in sailing at the age of seven. We hope to give more exposure and develop the skills of our young sailors. The door is open for us and it’s up to us to take the opportunity and challenges to be part of international players.”

With newly built BDYA Clubhouse in Pantai Serasa, the BDYA President is confident that it will help boost water sports and activities among the public, especially the young generation.

Following the officiating of the opening ceremony, the guest of honour met the participants of the sailing championship.

The minister also signed the plaque of the newly built BDYA Clubhouse in Pantai Serasa and toured the facilities.

Taking three months to complete, the BDYA Clubhouse in Pantai Serasa is made from two 20-foot containers and one 40-foot container on a 0.1-acre land. There are office and conference rooms on the first floor while the ground floor stores boats.

A total of 50 registered participants from Brunei Darussalam, Sabah and Sarawak as well as Peninsular Malaysia are competing in the sailing championship. A total of 15 local sailors from the BDYA and Royal Brunei Navy are also taking part.

The championship is held as part of the BDYA’s white paper programme for the development of sailing and selection of national athletes for the future.