Brunei Darussalam’s strengths have not only been limited to mainstream team and individual sports popularised in major competitions, but also lie in niche sports.
Over the years, the Sultanate has gained both worldwide recognition and outstanding success in strength and endurance sports evident with podium finishes in overseas meets.
With common sports that have been grabbing the headlines in multi-sport meets such as the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and the Malaysian Games (Sukma), success achieved in sports such as powerlifting, obstacle course racing and Strongest Man events should not be left unnoticed.
The country has garnered attention in the regional and international scene this year, unearthing newfound talents with the potential to accomplish records and feats.
While weightlifting at the competitive national level is still considered relatively new, Brunei athlete Nashrul Abu Bakar won the gold medal in the Under-61kg category at the Singapore Weightlifting International 2022 Commonwealth Games qualifiers.
His success earned him a place in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last July, as the first-ever weight lifter to represent the country, where he went on to set a new national record.
Nashrul’s participation marked the revival of the sports as the Brunei Darussalam National Weightlifting Association (BDNWA), with the current hierarchy succeeding the previous management.
Its membership was also reinstated by the world governing body (International Weightlifting Federation) after being suspended from activity.
The establishment of the Fitness Festival (FitFest) competition in the country also demonstrated the interest of local enthusiasts in weightlifting.
Obstacle course racing (OCR) has steadily gained widespread interest in the country with training sessions specific to the sport available in various gyms in the country.
The up-and-coming sport has gained a global audience with similar competitions across the world made famous by the Spartan brand founded by entrepreneur Joe de Sena.
The country has enjoyed immediate success highlighted by leading OCR athlete Muhammad Adid bin Abdul Kadir.
Last weekend, he claimed top place in his age group in the Spartan Sprint race in Vietnam, cementing him a place in the season-ending Spartan World Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
There was double joy for the country as his compatriot and seasoned campaigner Zulkernean Haji Tohara struck gold in his age group. Zulkernean, who is one of the experienced OCR athletes in the country, had enjoyed a good year thus far in his Spartan career as he claimed the bronze medal in Sarawak.
The Abu-Dhabi bound Adid has also previously enjoyed podium finish in Chiang Mai, Thailand with gold in the Sprint race and silver in the Super Race.
Similarly, the Alpha Challenge, which will mark its much-anticipated return in Brunei, follows a concept with similar obstacles and platforms adapted in the Spartan brand.
Last month, Brunei Darussalam powerlifters from the Powerlifting Federation Brunei Darussalam (PFBD) bagged 18 medals in the Southeast Asian Cup in Johor Bahru.
Brunei also enjoyed success in the regional bodybuilding scene when local athlete Mohamad Yazid bin Taib bagged two gold medals and one silver medal at the Fitness International Federation (FIF) Yong Peng League Malaysia in Johor last month.
In August 2022, local strength athlete Muhammad Waiz bin Haji Daud won the gold medal at the Persatuan Orang Kuat Seluruh Indonesia (POKSI) Independence Main Games at the Decathlon Pondok Indah in Jakarta, Indonesia. The young talent continued the legacy which had previously been set by his predecessors in the regional and international scene.
Just last week, Pengiran Roslannie bin Pengiran Haji Jumat from the Chainblock Team clinched the gold medal at the Bintangor Festival in Sarawak, Malaysia.
Pengiran Roslannie is no stranger to success in the regional stage having previously enjoyed triumph in the Under-100kg category in the Strongman Mania 2019 competiton in Jakarta.
His compatriot Awangku Mohd Adri Imani bin Pengiran Sahari clinched third place in the under-75kg category two years ago.