Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BRUNEI will be banking on the duo of Alihan Muda and Shari Hj Juma'at for their gold medal hopes at the 9th ASEAN Para Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Twenty-four athletes will be representing the Sultanate in three sports: athletics, 10-pin bowling and cycling in the Malaysian capital and all eyes will be on the golden pair at the September 17-23 multi-sports event.
Shari, who bagged one gold and one bronze medals in the F53/54/55 javelin throw and discus events respectively at the previous edition in Singapore two years ago, is confident of a podium finish again this time around.
"The training has been well and I feel that I have improved, especially in discus," said Shari prior to their departure at the International Airport in Berakas yesterday.
"My strength has always been in javelin, but lately I have picked up good technique in discus throw and I am very confident in bringing home medals in both events," said the country's 2012 London Paralympian.
Alihan, who holds the Games' best records in F32/33/34 discus throw and shot put events, is determined to put a strong showing.
"I am still holding the Games' record in both events...but I am expecting tough challengers this year," said Alihan, who claimed gold in the discus throw and bronze in the shot put events two years ago.
"If everything goes well I am very sure that we can bring gold medals home, but we need to focus and give our very best.
"The past years have seen a number of new and young competitors from neighbouring countries, but we are up for the challenge," added Alihan.
Present at the airport to bid farewell to the contingent yesterday was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Haji Noor Jusmin Hj Abdul Samad.
Since its inception in 2001, Brunei have won a total of 115 medals (31 gold, 35 silver and 49 bronze) in the history of the Games.