All set for a dream international debut

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam para swimmer Md Danial Hakim bin Harjimmey has been in contention for selection as a potential candidate in swimming in the 10th Asean Para Games in Manila, the Philippines since his name emerged as one of the frontrunners.

Md Danial Hakim heightened preparations for his international breakthrough with his appearance in the 8th Brunei Open & Masters Swimming Championships at the Swimming Pool of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex last September.

The local swimmer, who performs under the banner of Dolphin Swimming Club, has been eying to make his international debut in Manila. His probable appearance will undoubtedly help build his progress as a competitive swimmer in both the national and regional front.

With the world in sporting lockdown due to COVID-19, the Asean Para Games has since been postponed to October tentatively, with the board planning to reconvene a meeting in July where a final decision on the dates is expected.

“Preparations have been good. If all goes well, it will be my first international competition in Manila,” said Md Danial Hakim.

Brunei Darussalam para swimmer Md Danial Hakim bin Harjimmey. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

If things go well in his quest for selection, events in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke will all be lined up for Md Danial Hakim. The 18-year-old also revealed that the 50m freestyle is his signature event.

Amid fierce competition on the local scene, Md Danial Hakim has been swimming competitively since 2018 after making his debut in a school open competition.

The swimmer featured in the Brunei Secondary Inter-School Swimming Championships as one of the local swimmers looking to make an impression.

His support system includes his dad Harjimmey bin Zainal, who is also a coach at the Dolphin Swimming Club.

Before the COVID-19 crisis came into existence, Md Danial Hakim intensively carried out training in preparation for the Manila meet.

He had increased intensity with laps on the pool doubled as competition time edged closer.

The swimmer talked about his experiences as soon as there was a possibility of gaining selection and emphasised the need to watch on his food intake.

“It has been tough to be honest,” he said. “Training has been tough and there is more pressure than normal training. We have more to do than before.”

“For example, if we are doing 30 laps of freestyle, then you’d have to do like 50 and you have to double it.”

Asked if he harbours any ambitions and goals in Manila, he said, “I would like to go further but I do not expect to get medals for my first international race.”

“My objective will be to do my best and to achieve a personal best,” he affirmed.

The year 2019 saw Md Danial Hakim progressively evolving as a swimmer in a competitive environment as bigger tests lie ahead.

The Open tournament last year served as a platform where he enjoyed improvement as he looked to enhance his development.

“I would say I did much better than my last event. This is like my fifth (local tournament). This is one of the best tournaments that I did. Before joining, I felt nervous to be honest,” he shared.

In his most recent outing during the 7th Brunei Sprints Swimming Championships last February, he clocked a personal best in the 50m freestyle with a time of 34.63s.