The Managing Editor of Brunei Times asked me to write an article about the upcoming Borneo Games. This is not an easy subject to write. You see, for most of the articles I have written, I have practically all the reference books and other reference articles somewhere in my library. So I generally am able to write most things about Brunei but give me a topic on sports, my mind will be unable to function.
Anyway after a few quick checks on the internet which yielded very little but sufficient to go on, the first one was actually held in Brunei in 1954. It was at SRC in Seria. 1954 is not a good year. Borneo Bulletin has yet to go live then and practically everything was in Seria because that's where the British government really is. Not much was in Town. The first 5 year RKN was just kicking off.
However Seria is where I was born and my family more or less were in Seria then. I phoned my dad and he said why don't I ask my uncle as he remembered that my uncle took part in the Games. I called up my uncle and had the surprise of my life. Not only did he took part, he took part in the first one!
And apparently in those days, the so called Brunei team was made up of entirely the athletics prowess of BSP's employees. The Brunei team really should be called Brunei Shell team as only my uncle was the only Bruneian in the team. The others were all expatriates. Nevertheless the 'Brunei' team won the Games in 1954 and subsequently in 1955 in North Borneo and in 1956 in Sarawak.
I didn't realise that in the early stages of the Games, it was held annually. By 1957, the Brunei Athletics Association took over the the management of the team. Without the expatriates imports, my uncle said that we could not win the tournament anymore and probably have not won it since.
Anyway, I had to talk to a number of people just to get my story, so look out for the article next Monday.
The 'new' Borneo Games was revived in 2005. This year is Brunei's turn to host it. It will will be contested by Brunei, East Kalimantan, Labuan, Melaka (the host of 2010 SUKMA XIII), North Kalimantan, Sabah, Sarawak, South Kalimantan and West Kalimantan. Now, that's truly Borneo.