Platform for success | Borneo Online Newsletter
Brunei Darussalam has always prioritized the development of physical infrastructure in sport to help provide a platform for national athletes in their pursuit of success.
It is therefore paramount that adequate facilities and equipment encompassing all aspects contributing to the sport in question are in place to meet the needs of the athletes, in addition to the common requirements to exploit their finesse, technique and technical ability.
These may include the provision of a dedicated recovery room where athletes can obtain the best possible medical treatment and expertise, particularly in injury prevention or a gym where weight training sessions will be easily accessible under one roof.
In an ideal scenario, an athlete could be engaged in conversation with the manager at one point and then walk straight to the gym the next day or meet with a team physiotherapist without leaving the building.
The country has highlighted its interest in renovating existing facilities, as evidenced in particular by the gradual renovation of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium project.
The surroundings of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex, which can be considered a local sports center, include a number of easily accessible courts and arenas for recreational and competitive athletes.
The tennis center’s main court has the capacity to bring good turnouts and its panoramic views from a high level provide an enhanced spectator experience.
The National Aquatics Center also houses a standard swimming pool and diving boards capable of hosting national tournaments, although international fixtures are still absent.
Located between the multipurpose room and the petanque court, the lawn bowling center has a quality outdoor surface where emerging athletes can train and perform during competitions.
Although extreme sports are still at a minimum in the local competitive scene, a conveniently constructed skateboard park opposite the main staircase of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium serves as a platform for enthusiasts to show off their skills and abilities.
Skateboarding and BMX riding were particularly popular in the 1990s, inspired by the likes of Tony Hawk and Bob Burnquist.
Meanwhile, the indoor stadium at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex can host a wide variety of sports, including basketball, netball, futsal, badminton, and wushu.
The indoor complex, one of the largest facilities in terms of total area and size, has the potential to draw huge crowds if a world-class match is in town.
The Empire Brunei Country Club golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, will not only rival the best courses in the region, but will also present global appeal with panoramic views of the South China Sea.
It hosted the ButraHeidelbergCement (BHC) Brunei Championships – an Asian Development Tour event – in April 2019, attracting the likes of Thai superstar Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
The internationally renowned venue also hosted international talent at the Brunei Ladies Open, tri-sanctioned by the China LPGA Tour, the Brunei Darussalam Golf Association and the LPGA of Korea Tour, in 2018.
To improve the progress of football in the Sultanate, the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (FABD) recently hailed the establishment of a new Technical Center and Mini Stand funded by the FIFA Forward project.
The main office a stone’s throw away has also been revamped with upgraded amenities like a gymnasium.
In addition, the walls of the Menglait Sports Complex have been adorned with specific color themes intended to facilitate the coordination of players using these facilities.
The running track and a purpose-built area for show jumping events were also replaced as part of efforts to modernize the country’s national stadium.
In 2016, the Brunei Basketball Association ground in Batu Bersurat underwent a huge overhaul, specifically with a playing surface that meets International Basketball Federation (FIBA) specifications.
It was hoped that the move would improve the quality of basketball in the country as well as fuel and rekindle the interest of young people and the younger generation.