Participating in the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 fun run yesterday was nothing new for Brunei Darussalam Paralympic Council member Sahri.
Speaking after the fun run yesterday, Sahri said his passion in sports started in 1991 and he has since travelled the world to participate in competitions in para competitions including China, Indonesia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
He has a record seven gold medals in his collection, which he won over seven consecutive years.
He also has several silver and bronze medals, with the latest a bronze medal he won at the 11th ASEAN Para Games Solo in Indonesia last year.
A retired army personnel, Sahri called on individuals with disabilities to participate and compete, and not to let their disabilities be a hindrance.
“Don’t let it be a reason for you to stay cooped up at home without engaging in physical activities, such as sports,” he said.
“Everyone has their own capabilities. You never know what lies ahead for people like us. Go out and show that you are not defined by your shortcomings.”
Fellow Paralympic Council member Dayangku Nurul Ida Elina binti Pengiran Haji Hamlin from Kampong Katok, meanwhile, is still new to the council.
Her experience includes competitions in Indonesia and Malaysia.
“As a person with different abilities, our self-confidence is undoubtedly affected. Before I joined the council, I never knew people like us could participate and achieve in sports.
“But seeing others like me gave me the courage to step forward. Now, I am an active para athlete.”
The fun run also saw the participation of senior citizens, including 79-year-old retired doctor from Kampong Subok Sia Lim Mee and his wife. Sia was last posted as a dentist at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital’s Dental Services Department and retired over 25 years ago.
He learnt about the event from the Bulletin and brought his wife along for registration.
“I try to be active but unfortunately my knee issues hold me back at times,” he said.
He also lamented the lack of promotions for events like this, especially for senior citizens who are more reliant on traditional media.
“I try to make an extra effort whenever I hear of events but usually we only learn about these events in coverage after it is over.”
He suggested that similar events should be organised more frequently and in every district to encourage greater participation.
He added that these activities are a good platform for people to meet and encourage unity among different communities while also promoting health and fitness, especially in senior citizens.
“Even when you are over 70, if you are fit to walk, come and meet people. Don’t just sit at home. Get some fresh air and sun,” he said.
“Being around people makes you happier, especially when you see children running around.”
He said for senior citizens, walking exercises make them feel fresh and valuable instead of lonely and hidden away.
“You might coincidentally meet acquaintances or people from your childhood.
“I met some people I knew for the first time in 40 years.
“It feels good to be able to meet them again – not necessarily every day, but occasionally in community events such as this.”