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National athletics coach to leave role after 12 years

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam national athletics coach Isidro Del Prado will be leaving his role following the end of his contract, spelling an end after 12 years of service.

The outgoing national coach, who is one of the longest serving foreign coaches in the country, has spent the last month on leave amid the transition of handing over duties to a caretaker head coach in the process.

The Filipino has been hugely credited in aiding the development of athletics in the country particularly short-distance running since his appointment in 2010.

During his career, he helped train a number of athletes who went on to represent the country in various international meets such as the Olympic Games, World Championships, Asian Athletics Championships, Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games, Islamic Indoor Games and the Arafura Games.

Over the years, he also coached the athletes’ during their participation in national opens organised by several ASEAN countries.

Under the guidance of Isidro, several athletes rewrote national records and achieved podium finishes in the regional and international arena.

File photo of Brunei national athletics coach Isidro Del Prado in a group photo. PHOTO: MUIZ MATDANI

Brunei sprinter Maziah Mahusin clocked a new national record in the 400m event while compatriots Muhammad Fakhri Ismail and Muhammad Noor Firdaus Ar-Rasyid bin Haji Mohd Idris also accomplished similar feats in the 100m and 200m events, respectively.

The Bruneian men’s relay team comprising Muhd Faaizul bin Abdullah, Abdul Rahim Abdullah, Muhammad Noor Firdaus Ar-Rasyid bin Haji Idris and Muhammad Fakhri Ismail also set a new national record in the 4x100m relay event.

The coach played an influential role in overseeing the steady rise of athletes notably evident with their strong performances in the regional and international scene.

In 2015, Brunei athlete Muhammad Fakhri reached the final round of the 100m event at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore before advancing to the heats round in the World Championships in Beijing just months later.

Two years later, Muhammad Noor Firdaus Ar-Rasyid achieved a similar feat when a new national record was accompanied with qualification to the final round of the 200m event at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The year 2019 saw Muhammad Noor Firdaus win a silver medal in the 200m event of the 81st Singapore Open Track and Field Championships and accomplish new personal bests twice in the 100m event of the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

He also qualified for the semi-finals of the continental competition; a round short of making to the finals.

“I did my best during my time as the Brunei athletics coach and encouraged the athletes and told them to do our best so that we can improve and get a good performance”, said Isidro in an interview during a farewell event recently.

The two-time Olympian further added, “I told them to train religiously and always to
stay disciplined.”

Asked on the developments of the athletes who are currently active under the national pool, Isidro noted that they are continuously improving.

He said, “The athletes must remain and observe their discipline as well as train religiously. Once the new coach comes, they should follow their coaching.”

As the athletics community prepare a new chapter without Isidro at the helm, the outgoing coach expressed hopes of the country’s representatives enjoying further success.

Isidro also expressed gratitude to the Department of Youth and Sports, the Brunei Darussalam Athletics Federation (BDAF) as well as officers and staff of the Coaching Unit.

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