Minister proud of national para athletes

Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh

THE 9th ASEAN Para Games national contingent were accorded a heroes' welcome upon their arrival at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas yesterday.

Present among hundreds of families and friends was the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohammad Yussof.

The contingent bagged two gold, six silver and six bronze medals in Kuala Lumpur, just short of their previous haul of three gold, three silver and six bronze medals in Singapore two years ago.

“The athletes gave their best and I am very proud of them. I hope they will continue to train harder,” said the Minister in an interview with BruSports News yesterday.

“Alihan (Muda) and Kamarul (Ariffin Hj Abd Ghaffar) are good athletes, they won gold for their respective events. I am happy for them,” he added.

Kamarul Ariffin was the country’s top performer at the Games winning one gold and three silver medals from 10-pin bowling.

He started with a silver in the men’s TPB2 event with 1196 pinfalls before pairing up with Saidin Hj Awang Damit to defend their title in the mixed doubles TPB2 + TPB2 event for the gold medal.

The duo teamed up with Jamary Danggat to continue their podium run with a silver medal in the mixed TPB1 + TPB2 + TPB3 event before teaming up with Khairul Anuar Hj Abd Ghaffar for another silver in the mixed TPB1 + TPB2 + TPB2 + TPB3 event producing a total of 2654 pinfalls.

“I didn’t expect to win the silver in the individual event, as I know there are a lot of good athletes at the Games this year, but I tried my best and managed to get the silver,” said Kamarul Ariffin.

“The competition is different from two years ago in Singapore as we have seen quite a number of new talented players and I hope to continue to train harder to improve myself,” added the 23-year-old.

Alihan Muda was the biggest contributor in track and field with a haul of one gold and one silver medals.

The country’s seasoned athlete defended his title in the men’s F35 discus throw event with a distance of 22.13m despite suffering an injury on his left leg.

“I was on painkiller in the final of the event, but I kept on going and managed to grab the gold winning throw,” said Alihan.

“I was very determined to win so I forgot about the pain and went out there to give my best.

“However, I am a little bit disappointed in shot put as now I have lost the title of the best record holder at the Games,” he added.

Alihan however did not come home empty handed in the event as he finished second in the men’s F35 shot put with a throw of 7.33m.

This year’s Games also saw other athletes step up with podium finishes for the country.

Hirdan Hj Abdul Kadir and Dayang Nor Hensan Hj Mataha bagged one silver and one bronze medals each.

Hirdan won the silver from the men’s F56 discus throw event while the bronze was from the men’s F56 javelin event.

On the other hand, Dayang Nor Hensan bagged a silver medal in the women’s F12 discus throw event and grabbed the bronze from the women’s F11/F12 shot put event.

The other bronze medals were courtesy of the country’s Paralympian Shari Hj Juma’at (men’s F55 javelin event), Zainul Wardi Hj Tarip (men’s F35 discus throw) and Matin Dawat (men’s F11 javelin throw).

Hamizan Samsuddin also finished third in the mixed individual time trial (C1, C2, C3) cycling event in his debut.

Brunei were represented by 24 athletes at the Sept 17-23 multi-sport biennial competition.

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