Brunei Darussalam recently sent a contingent to the 32nd Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, with the two local athletes Mohd Firdaus Ar-Rasyid Hj Mohd Idris and Muhammad Isa Ahmad revved up to earn laurels for the country.
The Brunei Darussalam contingent departed to Tokyo last week on Sunday, comprising of seven individuals including the two aforementioned athletes and five officials consisting of the Chef de Mission, liaison officer, secretariat officer and coach.
This edition of the Olympic Games will see Brunei Darussalam participating in two sporting events namely; athletics and swimming where Mohd Firdaus Ar-Rasyid will take part in the men’s 200-meter event while Muhammad Isa will participate in the 100-meter breaststroke event for swimming.
A handover ceremony took place on Saturday, where President of the National Olympic Council of Brunei Darussalam, His Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Bendahara Seri Maharaja Permaisuara Pengiran Muda Haji Sufri Bolkiah handed over the national flag to Chef de Mission of the Brunei Darussalam contingent, Umi Kalthum binti Haji Abd Karim.
In his sabda, the prince congratulated the two local athletes for being selected by the International Association of Athletes Federation (IAAF) and the International Swimming Federation (FINA) and given ‘Universality Places’ to participate in this edition of the Olympics.
Universality places are set aside for National Olympic Committees (NOCs) whose athletes fall short of entry requirements for Olympic events.
“The country’s participation in the Olympics has proven our commitment and unity in jointly supporting the goals of the Olympics, in providing opportunities for all IOC member countries to compete in the Olympic arena despite not having qualified athletes,” he said.
His Royal Highness then called on the athletes to not waste this opportunity, to showcase their best achievements during the Olympic Games and ultimately, to strive towards breaking a national as well as their respective individual records.
“Furthermore, I would also like to call on all our national athletes to be able to make a target in the future; by proving that they too can qualify for the Olympics without expecting Universality Places again,” he continued.
“I expect the national athletes of our country will regard this as a challenge for them,” he added.
In an interview with the media, Muhammad Isa who will be swimming in the 100m breaststroke shared that he has been training for the sporting event last year which was dotted with complications as there was a period of time training facilities were temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
“My target for this Olympics is to trust what I have been doing for the past 12 years, and hopefully break a record or personal best,” he said.
This will be the first time Muhammad Isa will be taking part in the Olympics, but the national swimmer has taken part in a number of large sporting events like the Southeast Asian Games, along with other world championships.
“Because this time is the Olympics, I think things will be interesting because it is such a prestigious event. We’re just going out there to do our best,” he added.
“You know Brunei is very young in sports, so being able to take part in the Olympics and to be among the first Bruneians to do so, is a big achievement, not only for myself but for the country. We hope to be able to push the limit and bring Brunei to another level of sports,” he continued.
This is the sultanate’s 6th national participation in the Olympic Games and Brunei Darussalam’s last participation was in 2016 at the 31st Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN