BRUNEI opened its first ever sports gallery at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday in recognition of the Sultanate’s athletes’ numerous achievements.
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office officially launched the gallery, and after a welcoming speech by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah, His Royal Highness proceeded on a tour led by the minister.
The gallery - which is free to the public - displays a collection of trophies and sport gear and has walls adorned with pictures of athletes and memorabilia from when Brunei hosted the 1999 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, including the Games’ mascot Awang Budiman.
The gallery has five zones and each represents a different historical timeline.
Zone A exhibits national sports from the 1950s to 1990s, Zone B exhibits the Royal families’ sports participation, Zone C has exhibits on the 1999 SEA Games, Zone D as exhibits on the 2012 Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy which Brunei won while Zone E has trophies and medals won in the Malaysian and Singaporean football competitions as well as in regional and Paralympic competitions.
There is also an interactive corner and Hall of Fame section engraved with the names of the country’s SEA Games gold medalists.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair said the gallery served three objectives; to show Brunei’s historical sports development, to educate the younger generation and to appreciate the achievements made by the athletes.
He also said the gallery was dedicated to athletes that have done Brunei proud regionally and internationally, including para-athletes.
The minister stressed the gallery can also serve as a mentorship platform for the veteran athletes to act as role models to inspire aspiring athletes and contribute to National Vision 2035.
“The path to National Vision 2035 is not limited to developing the economy, infrastructure and education, but in fact it can also translate to successes in sports,” he said.
“What is important is the aspiring athletes have the perseverance, confidence and view the sports industry as a serious profession that can contribute to the nation’s development,” he said.
He encouraged the public, especially primary and secondary school students, to visit to the gallery.
“The potential of having their names engraved at the Hall of Fame can drive the younger generation to become more active in the sports industry,” said YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair.
The Acting Deputy Director of Department the Youth and Sports said the gallery may potentially expand in the future.
In a telephone interview, Dr Hj Zafri Hj Mohamed said he was hopeful that further upgrades could be made and that traditional sports exhibitions may be included.
He said the concept of the gallery was a result of the extensive research and planning that was put in to install the designs in line with their target audience.
Dr Hj Zafri said the interactive corner which featured a mini-golf course, magnetic darts and a puzzle wall is designed to attract the younger generation.
The sports gallery is opened to public everyday from 9am to 5pm (Monday to Thursday/Sunday), 9am to 11.30am and 2.30pm to 5pm (Friday) and 9.45am to 5pm (Saturday).
The Brunei Times