Athletes receive heroes’ welcome from SEA Games

Fadhil Yunus

The sporting stars who achieved excellence as part of the record-breaking Brunei Darussalam national contingent returned home to a heroes’ welcome yesterday following their stint in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines.

Brunei Darussalam saw their most successful contingent in an away SEA Games in Manila since their maiden appearance in 1977 having amassed two gold, five silver and six bronze medals.

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 greeted the arrival of the remaining athletes and officials including the two sports that yielded the gold medal – wushu and polo – at the Brunei International Airport.

The other sports which were part of yesterday’s flight included billiard sports and karatedo.

Also present were Permanent Secretary (Administration, Finance and Estate) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) Pengiran Mohd Amirrizal bin Pengiran Haji Mahmud; Deputy Permanent Secretary (Youth and Sports) at the MCYS Colonel (Rtd) Pengiran Haji Maiddin bin Pengiran Haji Said; Deputy Permanent Secretary (Community) at the MCYS Saidah binti Haji Wahid @ Burut; Deputy Permanent Secretary (Cultural) at the MCYS Dr Siti Norkhalbi binti Haji Wahsalfelah as well as other senior officers from the ministry.

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 speaks with athletes upon their arrival at the Brunei International Airport yesterday. PHOTO: AK ZAKI KASHARAN
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 with the athletes and other officials. PHOTO: AK ZAKI KASHARAN

Brunei Darussalam wushu star Mohammad Adi Salihin bin Roslan ended the country’s six-year wait for gold when he won the combined men’s nandao and nangun event.

Asked about his future plans following the Manila success, the gold medallist sets his sights on representing the country at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2022.

“My next target is the Asian Games and I will train hard to prepare myself for the competition,” said Mohammad Adi Salihin in an interview with the media.

The conclusion of the men’s nandao event was only the halfway stage towards Mohammad Adi Salihin’s quest for a medal when he led the field and entered gold medal contention.

“On the first day, I was top of the group but I need to start over again. I was still waiting for the other event,” said Mohammad Adi Salihin who kept his nerve to win the second part of the men’s nangun event, which confirmed him the gold.

The other gold came from the national polo team in Brunei’s final involvement in the multi-sport meet this year.

Philippines 2019 marked only the second time the country has won more than one gold after their achievements on home soil in 2019. The second gold also eclipsed the 32-year old record set by the 1987 team in Jakarta as the most decorated away contingent in history.