Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE 41st South East Asian Age Group (SEA AG) Swimming Championships was officially opened by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi Hj Mohammad Yussof earlier today.
The event began with the Minister greeting the representatives of the competing countries upon his arrival at the National Aquatics Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
It continued with a welcoming speech by the chairman of the competition Ahmad Isa followed by the Minister’s remarks.
"It is an honour for Brunei Darussalam to host the Southeast Asian Swimming Championships for the second time, the first being the 37th SEAAG in 2013," said Yang Berhormat Pehin Hj Awang Halbi.
"As one of the core sports under the Brunei Darussalam National Olympics Council (BDNOC), there has been a great deal of work and effort put into developing the sport of swimming in the country and I am incredibly proud to see its growth year on year.
"This year alone, for the first time, we have sent synchronised swimmers to participate at the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, while another two of our athletes competed at the 17th FINA World Championship in Hungary,” he added.
"On grassroots level, our national swimming federation BASA, has worked tirelessly in cultivating interest and aspiration of our young swimmers preparing them for such international exposure by actively organising swim meets such as Brunei Open and Masters Swimming Championships.
"As with any other sports, swimming is not only about gold medals and competition, but the coming together of the community whether it be through the supporting of our national athletes or volunteering in events.
"I would like to thank everyone who contributed to making this 41st SEAAG event a success, especially, the volunteers, the sponsors, athletes, parents and BASA. I wish all our ASEAN athletes the very best!" concluded the Minister.
A total of 235 swimmers from nine ASEAN countries are currently competing at the three-day tournament that will come to close tomorrow.
This year's 41st SEAAG Swimming Championships also serve as a qualifier for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.