Brunei continue tradition of disappointing Games

Brunei continue tradition of disappointing Games

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National taekwondo coach Kim Jung Jun (L) speaking to Mohd Fathullah Mohammad Taib during a recent match at the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar earlier this week. Brunei ended this year’s edition of the Games with one gold, one silver and six bronze medals.

Once again, another Southeast Asian (SEA) Games have come and gone.

Once again, Brunei have found themselves at the bottom of the pile.

And once again, the same excuses have been given.

For someone who is writing about the Games for the third time, such excuses - lack of training, not enough exposure, insufficient support - raise one question; has the country learnt from its past mistakes?

Though some might look at the biennial meet as an avenue for the 11 participating nations to unite in the name of sports and renew ties of camaraderie, it also cannot be denied that there is pride and honour at stake in what is the most highly anticipated multi-sport gathering in the region - for many athletes, the SEA Games is the pinnacle of their sporting career.

Brunei's haul of one gold, one silver and six bronze medals looked enough for the country to finish above Timor Leste in the standings until Timor Leste - whose Olympic Council was only formed 10 years ago - won their second gold medal on Saturday's penultimate day of competition.

Since joining for the first time in 1977, Brunei have never - except for when they were hosts in 1999 - won more than one gold medal at the SEA Games.

It is a worrisome record to say the least, especially with Brunei set to host the 2019 Games.

The contingent's chef de mission Hj Muhd Zamri Dato Paduka Hj Hamdani has correctly identified four key ares that need to be worked on if the country is to achieve better results at the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, but change can only happen if all stakeholders - the relevant ministries, employers, sponsors and crucially, parents - work together.

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