Nurturing homegrown sporting talents

Fadhil Yunus

The Brunei Darussalam Schools Sports Council (MSSSBD) was established in 2009 with the objective of enhancing the performance of local athletes at regional and international levels.

The direction has led to the continuous planning, implementation and review of programmes, including sports management, the spotting of talents through competitions, evaluation of athletes and upgrade of coaching qualifications.

In addition to advanced systematic training, efforts made by the council include producing experienced and qualified technical sport officers, optimising sport science and cooperating with stakeholders for short- and long-term programmes.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Schools Sports Council (ASSC), which has been organising sporting events since 1978 and the ASEAN School Games (ASG) since 2009.

Currently, the MSSSBD is under the jurisdiction of the Director of Co-Curriculum Education and assisted by the MSSSBD Secretariat.

Since its establishment, among the achievements made include attaining second place in the under-15s category of the School Football Tournament organised by the Asian School Sport Federation (ASSF) in Ubon Rat Chathani, Thailand in 2011, a gold medal in the ASG, the implementation of an athlete evaluation and selection guideline to regional and international competitions, and the introduction of Sports Excellence Incentive for athletes who perform well in competitions at regional and Asian levels.

Meanwhile, Brunei Darussalam was the host nation of the 7th ASG in 2015, and will again host the event in 2022. The country was also the ASSC President from 2018 to 2019.

The ASSC was formed during a meeting in Indonesia in April 1978, with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand being the original members of the council. Four more countries have been inducted since, including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The council commemorated its 30th anniversary during the 58th Technical Committee Meeting and 54th Management Committee Meeting in the Philippines in 2008. The outcome of the meeting marked a new chapter for the ASSC programme – the establishment of ASEAN School Games to incorporate and manage all 12 sports.

Since 2004, member nations have been taking turns running the two-year ASSC Secretariat.

In 2007, the ASSC proposed a concept of the competition to be changed so that more participants could compete. The ASG contested 12 sports, which are now listed in the ASSC calendar. Based on the list, four have been categorised as core sports – athletics, badminton, sepak takraw and swimming – while the rest are selected sports – basketball, golf, gymnastics, hockey, netball, table tennis, tennis and volleyball.

The host nation must ensure that each sport contested is agreed by four or more countries before the sport can be listed.

Since the first ASG in 2009, each member has agreed to be the host nation by rotation.

As a member of the ASSC since 1978, Brunei Darussalam is very committed in supporting the vision of the council to make the ASG a platform to unite the young generation, especially among students in ASEAN schools through organised sports programmes and activities.

In line with ASEAN’s aspirations of advancing social progress through cooperation, the ASG plays an important role through sports.

Among the benefits gained through the ASG are to foster closer collaboration among ASEAN students and drive social progress in the region by networking through sports in the spirit of partnership and equality.

Brunei Darussalam has been invited to take part in sports championships for students in ASEAN and Asia since 1970.