Only gold will do for Silat

(Top) National silat exponent Hj Md Khairul Bahrin Hj Duraman will be looking to bring glory to the Sultanate in the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. (Above) National Pencak Silat coach Suhartono.Pictures: BT file

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

THE national Pencak Silat team has only Gold in their sights at the upcoming 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games that will be held at Indonesia from Nov 11-22.

The Sultanate's representatives are banking on the many months of preparation and training that they have endured throughout the year to bring glory to Brunei, with gold clearly in their sights.

National silat coach Suhartono placed utmost confidence in his athletes, stating belief that his team will be able to stand triumphant in Jakarta.

"Gold, we are preparing for gold only. But we hope to at least bring back the silver and bronze medal," Suhartono said during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

His confidence was understandable, especially after the team's recent trip to Indonesia last month where they participated in a tryout for a 'Friendship Competition' as part of their training.

The event featured athletes from some of the provinces of Indonesia.

"In Indonesia it was hard for them, training was intense and that's all they had because they couldn't go anywhere. Returning back to Brunei, it was harder to control my team but they do need to get the rest," said Suhartono.

The 54-year-old said that he has done all he can for the national squad to take on the best in the region and it was now up to the athletes to respond in kind, reminding them that other countries have been going full on in training as well.

Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia are the top three teams to look out for this year's edition of the SEA Games but the coach has also placed high expectations on the national squad, adding that the team have a good chance in beating the big three in the categories they are contending in.

There will be 10 representatives flying the flag for Brunei and the competition will see them try to fight their way to the top in seven categories of the Silat competition in the SEA Games.

Three of the categories will be from the Artistic grouping while four others will lie in the Sports Combat Category.

Brunei has had previous success in the SEA Games as national silat exponent Hj Md Khairul Bahrin Hj Duraman brought back the country's first gold medal at the Laos SEA Games back in 2009.

Hj Md Khairul defeated Sarawut Comepoon of Thailand and Laos' Youthisinh, who both finished second and third place respectively, to take the champion spot in the men's pencak silat tunggal event.

Unfortunately, the country will be without the services of one of Brunei's top silat practitioner, Khuzaiman Ahmad who is currently nursing an injury.

Khuzaiman won gold and was named the 'Best Male Athlete' at the 14th World Pencak Silat Championships in December in Jakarta.

He also bagged a gold at the 2nd Southeast Asian Silat Championships in August last year in Vietnam.The Brunei Times