National athletes wait for chance to perform in next World Championships

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam faces an extended wait for possible participation in the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States after new dates were recently announced from July 15-24 in 2022.

The competition was initially slated from August 6-15 next year but the event was pushed back following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 due to the coronavirus  pandemic.

Brunei has actively sent competitors to the biennial event since 2009 in Berlin, mainly in the sprint events.

National sprinter Mohd Noor Firdaus Ar-Rasyid bin Haji Md Idris represented the country in the previous two editions in Doha last year and London in 2017, while Md Fakhri Ismail competed in Beijing in 2015.

Last year, Brunei athletics met with some success particularly through the exploits of Mohd Noor Firdaus in his 200m event.

After bagging silver in the Singapore Open last March, the 200m national record holder continued his momentum in the Asian Athletics just a month later where he reached the semi-finals in both the 100m and 200m events.

The country also enjoyed progress in the global stage five years ago after Md Fakhri qualified to the heats round after clocking 10.73s in the World Championship preliminaries.

His progress to the heats round provided him a rare opportunity to race alongside sprint icon Usain Bolt, who went on to clinch gold.

The world meet is the pinnacle for national athletes, which importance is parallel to the Olympics, as well as Asian Athletics Championships, Commonwealth, Asian Games and the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

The last major competition Brunei Darussalam participated in was the SEA Games in Manila, the Philippines last December.

As the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games also fall in the same year, the World Championships postponement could also lead to more sporting events being held in the country, to select potential track candidates for the national contingent.

Meanwhile, the 82nd Singapore Open Track and Field Championships 2020 at the Singapore Sports Hub in Singapore, where Mohd Noor Firdaus won silver medal, became one of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic after it was cancelled last month.

The World Athletics Championships is organised by the World Athletics, the international governing body for athletics.