Brunei face wait for Sukma Games appearance

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam joined the Malaysian states of not making an appearance in the 20th Sukma Games in Johor in July following the recent announcement that the multi-sport festival has been postponed amid the continuing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Malaysia Games Supreme Council Committee confirmed the announcement at a special meeting via video conference chaired by the Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican. A new date is set to be announced in due course possibly by early May.

The minister in a statement said, “The Malaysia Games Supreme Council Committee has unanimously agreed to postpone the Johor Malaysia Games to a new date which will be decided upon later.”

He added, “The decision was made based on the most important aspect, which is in the health and safety of the athletes and coaches, officials and everyone in the games.”

The decision to defer the event was also welcomed by sports leaders especially in Sarawak during a challenging time for the country in the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19.

With the Malaysian states scheduled to take part, Brunei is the only overseas team and has been actively sending competitors from various sports in recent editions.

The Sukma Games also serves as a platform for Bruneian athletes to showcase their skills and talents in the regional arena and to expand their hopes of selection in other major competitions such as the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Asian Games or other international events.

Brunei sent 34 athletes in the biennial competition during the last edition in Perak in 2018, where they managed a haul of one silver and three bronze medals.

The country’s best performance came in wushu when Mohammad Adi Salihin bin Roslan snatched silver in the men’s nanquan event at the Perak Matriculation College.

After the Perak heroics, his wushu career reached new heights with his biggest achievement coming in his gold medal victory at the Southeast Asian Games in Manila, the Philippines.

On a separate note, the Tokyo Olympics has also been postponed until next year with the multi-sport festival occurring during the spring being considered as a possibility.

Brunei sent two athletes both in athletics namely Mohd Fakhri bin Ismail and Maizurah binti Abdul Rahim during the previous edition at the Rio Olympics in 2016.