Bandar Seri Begawan - Gone are the days when extreme sports lacked the facilities to host their activities. With the opening of a skate park by Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, skateboarders now have a place to officially call their own.
The skate park, located near the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, will serve as a proper venue for youths to conduct activities such as extreme sports and gather together to live a healthier lifestyle through various sports agendas. It also incorporates a unique design using local graffiti sprayed on the walls, which was created by a group of individuals from the '400ML Friends with Friends', children from Pusat Ehsan, the Language and Literature Bureau as well as the Brunei Darussalam Skateboard Association.
Also at the event were Dato Paduka Awang Hj Mohd Hamid bin Hj Mohd Jaafar and Hj Mohd. Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretaries of Culture, Youth and Sports with Awang Hj Ismail bin Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Setia Dato Paduka Hj Hashim, Deputy Permanent Secretary and Haji Abdullah Malik bin Hj Mohammad, Acting Director at the ministry.
"I hope the park will attract more youths and plan more conducive activities for the benefit of the society" the minister said. He later joined in the fun and left his mark' on the wall by signing his name in Jawi with a graffiti spray.
"The graffiti is written in Jawi to instill love and appreciation for it as part of the Sultanate's culture. As for the overall construction of the youth park, there is a slight delay with the track for remote control cars after amendments were made on the specifications of the track to meet international standards.
"We do not have an official name for the youth park as yet but are considering taking recommendations from our youths," Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair said. They park is opened to members of the public especially youth associations. The venue will provide an opportunity for families to participate in programmes and activities to further strengthen the role of family institutions, which forms the main pillars of a caring society.
According to Hj Asnami bin Hj Ahmad, a skater from the skateboard association, "This is the biggest skate park in Brunei. We also have a proper place for beginners to train and improve their skills. Works are also in the pipeline to organise a proper tournament in the near future. We would like to call upon all skaters and BMX enthusiasts to join us at the park from 5pm onwards daily," the minister said.
Currently, there are some 100 skateboarders with 50 in-line skaters and about 10 BMX riders in the association.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin