Royalty launches Special Olympics
By James Kon

Some 200 special athletes are currently showcasing their talents in sports at the Special Olympics Brunei Darussalam 5th National Games that was launched yesterday at the Belapan Track and Field.

The guest of honour who officiated the opening was Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah.

Her Royal Highness was welcomed upon arrival by Dato Paduka Hj Jemat bin Hj Ampal, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Ministry in his capacity as the co-chairperson and Hj Mahrub bin Hj Murni, the board chairperson of Special Olympics Brunei Darussalam.

A total of five sports will be contested this year, two more than previous years. The games are track and field, bocce, football, bowling as well as young athletes.

Since its inception and registration in year 2004, the annual Special Olympics Brunei Darussalam National Games has showcased the potential of special athletes in the nation.

This year, it is organised with the cooperation and support of three ministries namely Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health.

The main objective of the games is to select and train special athletes with the most potential to represent Brunei for the Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece. The World Games will be held in June-July 2011.

In reflection of this year's theme of 'Together Nurturing Harmony', the athletes are divided into four sports houses namely the Bunga Gambir House, Bunga Kudok-Kudok House, Bunga Simpur House and Bunga Sumboi-Sumboi House.

To make sure that the games run smoothly, the services of 200 volunteers - comprising members of the Brunei Darussalam Girls Guides, Red Crescent and Scouts associations as well as students of Paduka Seri Begawan Science College, UBD's volunteer and charity clubs, ITB and Berakas Secondary School as well as personnel of Standard Chartered Bank and International Women's Council - will be used.

After the launch, Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah also met the athletes and presented tournament plaques to representatives of the teams.

During the ceremony, a newly added sports - equestrian - was introduced. - Borneo Bulletin (19th March 2010)