THE inaugural Rising Together Baton Run was launched today (5 March 2017) by? Malaysian M?inister of Youth and Sports, Brig Gen Khairy Jamaluddin, to huge fanfare and a warm reception at the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei Darussalam.
More than 6,000 enthusiasts thronged the thoroughfare at the start of the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium as the run snaked through the city centre on a car-free-day all the way to the finish line at Cendera Lambang Kenangan.
“I was really surprised with the turnout,” said Brig Gen Khairy in a press conference afterwards.
“On behalf of the Malaysian government, I would like to thank the Brunei government for their support in this first ever Rising Together-Baton Run.
“I hope that this event would be a catalyst for the region to rise together to make the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games an overwhelming success.”
The Rising Together? Baton ?Run was conceptualised as part of the legacy for the 29th SEA Games which Malaysia will host on 19-31 August 2017.
? At the start, Brig Gen Khairy ran alongside His Royal Highness Prince Sufri Bolkiah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saiffuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, President of the Brunei Olympic Council.
?They w?ere accompanied by Pehin Datuk Lailaraja Mejar General (Rtd) Datuk Paduka Seri Awang Halbi Haji Mohd Yussof, Minister of Culture Youth and Sports alongside 30 runners as they ran the first 400 metres of the Rising Together Baton Run.
The first checkpoint saw the baton being handed over to Awang Mohd Sufi Shayiranbin Roslan, the country’s wushu bronze medalist at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
A total of nine checkpoints including the start and the finish for a total of 7.4km was covered by runners which also included dignitaries, VIPs and also a handful of Brunei’s foremost athletes including Awang Azmi Hadzid (cycling), Awang Kifli Hamzah (silat), Dayang Nurul Ain Md Jaafar (taekwondo), Awang Zatie Hidayat Saidi (sepaktakraw) and DK Nurul Nabilah Pg Md Salleh (lawn bowls).
The final lap saw Awang Sahri Jumat, Brunei’s Para athlete who won gold for javelin at the 2015 ASEAN Para Games in Singapore, made it to the finish where he then passed the baton over to Prince Sufri who then returned it to Brig Gen Khairy.
He then marked the next leg of the Rising Together Baton Run in the Philippines (12 March 2017) by passing the baton to H.E. Meynardo Los Banos Montealegre, the Philippines Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam.
“I would like to thank the Malaysian government, specifically the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports for choosing Brunei as the first venue for the Rising Together Baton Run. We are deeply honoured,” added Pehin Awang.
“I would also like to thank the Brunei citizens for coming out in support of this event as it signifies the good relationship of the two countries.”
The Baton Run will cover all countries taking part at the SEA Games this year and where it is expected to conclude in Singapore on 13 May 2017, before the start of the Torch Run in Malaysia.