A flag handing-over ceremony for the Brunei contingent going to the 5th Borneo Games in Labuan was held at the VVIP Room of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday.
Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah handed over the flag to chef-de-mission Awang Kifli bin Haji Jaafar, who is also the Head of Coaching and Sport Development Unit at the ceremony.
Brunei Darussalam 138-strong contingent including technical officers, coaches and 114 athletes will be taking part in 11 sports - athletics, sepak takraw, swimming, pencak silat, karate-do, football, futsal, lawn bowl, top spinning, basketball and tug-of-war.
Pehin Hazair said the Borneo Games is just as important as the other sports tournaments in view of its history and relationship with Brunei Darussalam which is the first step for athletes before their involvement and participation in regional and international sports such as the SEA Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.
"It is the confluence of the three regions in Borneo initially contributing to the development and sports excellence in Brunei Darussalam. Borneo sports leave a lot of memories to veteran athletes and sports fans nationwide.
"Borneo Games also act as a sub region games that contributes to strengthening regional relationships and sub region cooperation in social, cultural and economic aspect within the regional and provinces on the island of Borneo population," Pehin Hazair said.
"I am pleased to congratulate the athletes who were selected to represent the country for the Borneo Games and offer them an opportunity to show their talents and abilities in sports.
"Through their participation, the athletes are also able to gain experience not only in competitions but also strepgthen the spirit of friendship among the athletes in Borneo," the minster added.
Haji Abd Malik bin Hj Mohammad, Acting Director of Youth and Sports Department in his welcoming note mentioned that he believed that the Borneo Games will be able to aid the young athletes to gain the exposure they needed to advance in their sport.
"We are thankful to have a strong bond with the organisers, Labuan Federal Territory for inviting Brunei Darussalam to participate in the games. We greatly appreciate the invitation and welcome the good intention and purpose it is held not only to promote regional sports cooperation but also emphasising on athletes under 21 years old to join."
"I hope with the hard work and training by our contingent, our participation this year will be able to match and even improve their performance in order to win more medals than in previous years," Hj Abd Malik added.