The Brunei wushu team and netball team brought joy to the Sultanate after winning three bronze medals on Day 1 of the 28th Southeast Asia (SEA) Games in Singapore yesterday.
It was a bitter bronze medal to swallow for defending wushu Women's Duel (Weapons) champions Faustina Woo Wai Sii and Lee Ying Shi, as they succumbed to their injuries and ended up in third place with a score of 9.64 at the Singapore Expo Hall 2.
The Myanmar duo of Myint Aye Thit Sar and Phyo Myat Thet Su Wai surprised hot favourites Brunei and Singapore by clinching the gold medal with a score of 9.69, and Singapore, which originally registered three athletes for the event but only fielded Emily Sin Min Li and Zoe Mui Wei Ting, had to settle for silver on 9.68.
It was only revealed to the media after the competition that Woo had already ruptured her knee ligament during her training stint in China, an old injury that had been troubling her.
National coach Li Hui had to alter the routine to remove a jump in order for her to be able to compete, and that reduction of difficulty did count against the girls. Woo is expected to undergo surgery when she returns to Brunei.
It was however a joyous bronze for wushu brothers Mohd Sufi Shayiran Roslan and Mohd Adi Sya'rani Roslan after they clinched the Sultanate's first ever men's wushu medals in the SEA Games.
Prior to this, the wushu male athletes had never been able to secure a medal for the Sultanate, despite contesting in the past three editions.
The duo finished the Men's Duel (Weapons) event with a score of 9.68, behind Singapore's Jesse Colin Adalia, Lee Zhe Xuan and Lim Si Wei, who finished top on 9.72, and the Philippines' Norlence Ardee Catolico, John Keithley Chan and Daniel Parantac, on 9.70.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council and National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam, said he was happy with the athletes performance, despite Woo and Lee failing to defend their gold medal.
"They have done very well already," said HRH.
"They have tried, done their best, I am happy with the performance."
Asked what he thought of Woo and Lee only managing a bronze in the women's duel event, HRH replied, "This is a competition, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I am happy for them (winning bronze)."
The Brunei netball team secured a bronze medal after having a torrid afternoon against Malaysia in the semi-finals, losing 79-23 in the OCBC Arena.
The team already had bronze in their bag before the game, as the netball competition award bronze medals to both losing semi-finalists. It was a matter of whether the girls could spring a surprise or two on their opponents, but the Malaysians proved too strong for them.
Back to wushu, in the Men's Optional Nan Quan event held yesterday afternoon, Mohd Sufi ended at the bottom of the roster in 10th, finishing with a score of 9.36. Indonesia's Harris Horatius took gold in the event with a score of 9.71, followed by Vietnam's Pham Quoc Khanh in second at 9.70, and Malaysia's Ho Mun Hua with a score of 9.69.
Brunei's taiji exponent Ang Guat Lian had an equally disappointing outing in the wushu opener in the Women's Compulsory Taijiquan event, finishing second last with a points total of 8.50.
Ang set herself a target of finishing in top five for the events she is participating, but the opener fell way off target for her.
Singapore's Vera Tan Yan Ning clinched gold in the event with a score of 9.69, followed by Malaysia's Chan Lu Yi on 9.65, and another Singapore wushu exponent Ho Lin Ying on 9.64.
Ang finished in front of Myanmar's Thien Khin Thin Zar, who had a score of 7.63. According to coach Li Hui, Ang had been kept busy by her studies, preparing for her 'A' level exams, and also juggling with wushu trainings in between. She is now in between taking her various 'A' level exams, and it was with some luck in her schedule that she was able to participate in this edition of the SEA Games. "This is not the best of preparation for a competition like the SEA Games, but I think it is good for her to come to Singapore, at least for the experience and exposure," said Li.