By Waleed PD Mahdini & Lyna Mohamad
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council, yesterday posed a pertinent question as to why Brunei athletes are still found wanting despite the government providing many facilities for free.
"Where lies the fault?" asked the Prince as he delivered a sabda at the flag-handing over ceremony yesterday to the national contingent of the 3rd Asian Indoor Games.
HRH was making the reference in the context of pointing out that His Majesty's government has freely provided every available requirement and facility as an ingredient for every athlete to achieve success.
"In all probability, Brunei Darussalam is possibly the only country in the world that provides all these things for free. However, if we review the country's achievements, in both regional and international championships, especially after the 1999 SEA Games that we hosted, we are still found wanting," HRH said, adding: "It is this question that we must seek an immediate answer for."
The 24-member contingent comprising 13 athletes, two managers, three coaches, two assistant coaches will be bound for Vietnam today to represent the country in three events - Pencak Silat, Wushu and Billiards and Snooker.
"Despite the fact that the Asian Indoor Games have been held twice since 2005, this is the first time that our national athletes will be participating, marking the occasion as another historic milestone in the development of sports in our country, and I congratulate all the chosen athletes," said HRH.
The Prince reminded the contingent that it was not "merely routine, but that it held more significance. The flag is the symbol of the country, which everyone must honour. The excellence of the athletes signifies the country's excellence, and not the excellence of the National Olympic Council, nor the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, or any other national sports governing body. If the opposite were true, then it would also affect our country's good name. Thus good or bad, it is all in our country's name."
The President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council also lent the contingent his personal advice: "Always try your best, always be focussed and always look after your health. These three things are important for achieving success. Control your discipline, whether on the field or off it and most importantly, stay away from using any drugs or banned prescriptions."
HRH drew attention to His Majesty's government for always providing every necessary support, morally and through sporting facilities, incentive schemes, overseas training as well as absorbing the costs for the national contingents at every regional and international championship.
"Opportunities to compete in championships such as these must be used to the fullest, because opportunities such as these will not come freely without enduring efforts and sacrifice. This is your best opportunity to make our country's name proud. This is your time to make a name for yourselves and this is the time to open doors for opportunities and your future," HRH said to the country's contingent.
HRH also called on those present yesterday to carefully strategise every plan and action before it is made into a decision or policy by taking into account the implications to the nation's interest. "I urge all parties to cooperate, deliberate, synergise and work hard with one goal and that is for the good of Brunei Darussalam."
The Prince went on to explain that by "cooperating, we can identify each other's part and respect it. With deliberations, we can discuss and exchange ideas and decisions through the spirit of fair play, whilst at the same time, remind one another not to overlook anything. With synergy, we harmonise by collectively accepting responsibility and the country's aspirations that we hold dear. By working hard, we will persevere, endeavour, with total commitment whilst looking out for other opportunities to achieve success. It is these traits that we must have and should augment every time. We, and every stakeholders, as 'Team Brunei Darussalam' must think, plan, decide, implement and compete as a team".
Poignantly, HRH summed up his sabda with a proverb: "United we stand, divided we fall."
- Borneo Bulletin
(27th October 2009)