Playing against royalty in 2017 SEA Games
It is not often that you can tell your friends and family that you took on a king or princess, but some SEA Games athletes can.
Ever since the inaugural South-east Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games in 1959, the biennial event has seen royal descendants participate in sports which pit them against people of different backgrounds.
Thailand, for example, have been represented by at least two royalties. The late King Bhumibol Adulyadej won the OK dinghy class in sailing at the 1967 Bangkok SEAP Games, while Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana – the only daughter of King Maha Vajiralongkorn – clinched the badminton team gold at the 2005 Manila SEA Games.
The Brunei national football team captain is the nephew of Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei. He announced himself at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, when Brunei finished bottom of their six-team group. Royal blood aside, the 19-year-old is a footballing prospect, having already recorded appearances for the youth sides of English Premier League clubs Southampton, Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester City.
Despite having his polo qualifications challenged by Johor Crown Prince Ismail Idris after his inclusion in Malaysia’s polo squad was announced, he is set to be the first minister in the region to take part in the SEA Games. The 41-year-old Youth and Sports Minister of Malaysia previously played in international matches, and in July’s Malaysia Open.
News and features about 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from August 19-30. Visit http://inq.news/seagames.
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