BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Mazlan Hj Yahya and Wirna Hj Mohd Yassin are set to defend their crown in the double event at the Bintulu Open Petanque Championship this weekend.
The two-day tournament will start on Saturday and conclude on Sunday at the Petanque Pitch in Bintulu, Sarawak, with the annual tournament expected to attract the best players from Borneo and peninsular Malaysia.
Speaking to The Brunei Times yesterday, seasoned national player Mazlan is confident of retaining their title.
"For this tournament Wirna and I have been preparing very well and we expect to win and retain the crown," said Mazlan.
"This year has been a quiet one and the national team have had a slow start... This is our first outing outside the country and I hope that we will be able to perform
"Even though we have not competed in a lot of tournaments this year, we have been busy doing our own preparations and training for future tournament," he added.
The national duo defeated the hosts 13-4 in last year's final to be crowned the champions of double category, with Mazlan thinking Bintulu are still the team to beat.
"I think the Bintulu team will be once again our main challengers in the competition," said Mazlan.
"Currently we are also preparing for the Inter-Ministries Petanque Championship which is expected to take place in the middle of May," he added.
Last week saw Hj Raduan Hj Mohamad Nudin defeated Masli Hj Said to win the men's category of the Petanque Championship Ministry of Defence (MOD) Sports 2014 at the Petanque Pitch of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
Mohammad Omar Hj Adam finished third after defeating Hj Zulkifli Hj Daud.
Meanwhile, in the women's category, Hjh Noorzailahwathy Hj Lakim was crowned the winner after beating Pungut Lamat in the final.
Norhayati Abdul Latif won bronze after beating Hjh Asnan Bangkol in the battle for third.