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Pencak silat medallists receive heroes’ welcome

Fadhil Yunus

The medal-winning pencak silat athletes from the Brunei Darussalam national contingent returned home to a heroes’ welcome following their impressive performances at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin presented sashes to national athletes Anisah Najihah binti Abdullah, Nur Wasiqah Aziemah binti Rosihan, Norleyermah binti Haji Raya and Muhd Ali Saifullah bin Abdullah Md Suhaimi at the Brunei International Airport yesterday.

The female trio bagged the silver medal in the women’s artistic team event while debutant Md Ali Saifullah snatched bronze in the men’s artistic singles event at the Bac Tu Liem Sporting Hall last Wednesday.

The quartet had been accompanied by head coach Haji Khairul Bahrin bin Haji Durahman.

“Our win at the SEA Games was not expected as we needed to go through new rules in a knock-out system,” said national pencak silat athlete Anisah Najihah in an interview with the Bulletin.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin in a group photo with the contingent. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

She added, “We trained most of the day during the fasting month of Ramadhan. When our result appeared on the screen, it felt that our hard work had paid off even though we were defeated by the hosts during the final.”

The national pencak silat exponent shared that a new scoring system was used adding that it was one of the challenges that they had to adapt with.

As the team squared up against Vietnam in the final, she said, “When we learnt that we will meet the hosts, we were like we could not give up early even though they have high chances of winning. We want to give them the best competition.”

The pencak silat athlete added that lessons that can be brought back from their experience include performing in big competitions adding that the atmosphere was much different than home.

Anisah, who also competed in the women’s individual artistic event, also expressed her hopes on participating in the World Championships in Malacca adding their willingness to perform better than they did during the SEA Games.

Meanwhile, Md Ali Saifullah said, “During the match, I had no sense of nervousness at all because I imagined that this was just a normal game. Then, I just showed the world that Brunei is not weak.”

Md Ali Saifullah, who stunned defending champion Philippines’ Edmar Tacuel in the elimination round added, “Alhamdulillah, I’ve seen my score and at that time I felt like breaking into tears as I was moved to progress into the semi-final.”

Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (Administration, Finance and Estate) Pengiran Mohd Amirrizal bin Pengiran Haji Mahmud as well as senior officers from the Department of Youth and Sports were also present.

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