HIS Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BNOC), yesterday visited three national teams which will be competing at the Laos Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) next month.
With just around two weeks to go until the start of the Dec 9 - 18 biennial tournament, the president is on a three-day visit to all the national teams competing in Laos - with the attention focused on athletics and cue sports today and karate and pencak silat tomorrow.
Yesterday's visit saw him spend an hour to find out about the progress of the sepak takraw, taekwondo and wushu teams at the Menglait Sports Complex.
Welcomed at the venue by the contingent's chef de mission, Hj Muhd Zamri DP Hj Hamdani, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah was first introduced to the five-member wushu team.
Though they were initially not on the list of athletes going to Laos, the team's bronze medal finish in the women's single weapon vs weapon event during last month's 3rd Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam earned them a call-up.
The president spent 15 minutes watching four demonstrations - double sword by Faustina Woo Wai Sii and Lee Ying Shi, double sword by twins Isa and Ismi Bismi, and Southern cudgel and Southern fist by Harris Adli Perancis.
After enquiring about the preparation of the team, he talked to national coach Li Hui and also asked about the various weapons and its uses.
"We told him that we have been training hard everyday and have many injuries, so he told us to be careful," said Faustina Woo Wai Sii, who combined with Lee to finish third in Vietnam.
"But we have to train more because there is no choice. Our target is to finish with a medal," she added.
Isa also touched on the sacrifices the team has had to make.
Adding that a trip to train in China for one month in October has helped them improve, there are still areas in which the wushu team is lacking in.
"It (China) was also good for our confidence but it is hard to train here since we do not have enough facilities, especially carpets - which is important for safety," said Isa.
The president then crossed the Multipurpose Hall to watch the sepak takraw team train.
Coached by Ittiphol Komchaisak, the team - Ismail Ang, Mohd Shukri jaineh and Nuralimin Sungoh - will be competing in only the doubles category.
His Royal Highness talked to the players and advised them not to be scared of the competition in Laos.
"He also told us to be full of confidence and perform a hundred per cent," said Ismail.
"We also told him about our training schedule, that we train six times a week from 8:30 to 11:30 in the morning and from 2:30 to 5:30 in the afternoon," he added.
His Royal Highness also took some time to meet the squad for the Borneo Games which was also training at the same venue.
He then went on to watch the taekwondo team train and spar.
National coach Kim Jung-jun introduced the country's only representative in the sport in Laos, Fathullah Mohd Taib, and they spent a few minutes sparring with each other.
In charge of the national team for seven months, Kim spent a few minutes explaining the rules of the sport to His Royal Highness.
"He asked about the scoring system and I told him how points are calculated," said Kim.
"One point for a hit on the chest, two for the head, and penalty points for kicking legs or punching. Fathullah is an improving player and his fitness is very good. His strength, speed, power and jumps is getting better," he added.
Accompanying His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah throughout the trip was the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Ahmad Hj Jumat.
After talking to Kim and Fathullah, His Royal Highness then spent half an hour talking to the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and other officials from the Ministry and BNOC before leaving.
Courtesy from Brunei Times