13 May 2010

Brunei silat exponents work hard for SEA meet

Finally back in intensive training, the national silat team are eyeing the 2010 Southeast Asian Pencak Silat Championship to be held in the central province of Thanh Hoa in Vietnam from May 28 to June 4.

The team’s last international outing was the 25th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Laos last December when Hj Md Khairul Bahrin Hj Duraman bagged the only gold medal for the Sultanate by winning the men’s tunggal event.

However, this time around Suhartono, the national silat coach, is taking the Vietnam trip to provide experience and exposure for the junior exponents that have moved up the ranks.

“We are looking to compete in Vietnam since this will be a good chance for the junior athletes that have been promoted to the national squad to get exposure. This is also a very good chance for them to prove themselves that they belong in the elite team,” said Suhartono, in an interview with The Brunei Times, during a training session at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas yesterday.

Being held for the second time, the inaugural edition two years ago saw Brunei return home with one gold, three silver and five bronze medals and Suhartono is hoping to improve on that medal haul but knows that it will be a difficult task.

“We’re aiming for more gold medals this time around. I want the athletes to put up a good performance and make a name for themselves,” said Suhartono.

“But it is going to be tough especially with the competition coming from the defending champions (Vietnam). I believe they prepared early, but we’re also expecting tough opposition from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia,” added the Indonesian.

Unlike the junior team that started training back in December to prepare for the Malaysia Games (Sukma), the senior squad only returned to full training about a month ago.

“Some had been training since returning from the SEA Games, but then those from the army (Royal Brunei Armed Forces) only just got released from their work commitments to return to training,” said the national coach.

In addition, Suhartono highlighted that they are hoping to get an early selection done to prepare for next year’s SEA Games as well.

The tournament will be used by the coach as a curtain raiser for the World Pencak Silat Championship from July 25-31 at Samarinda, Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the Brunei Darussalam National Pencak Silat Association (BDNPSA) will be holding a Pencak Silat coaching course on May 17 at 10.30am at the lecture theatre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.

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