MANILA: The first name on the Brunei netball teamsheet handed out to the media immediately catches one’s attention. It reads: “Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah”.
But Princess Fadzilah, 34, the daughter of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, considers herself simply “one of the girls”.
After missing out on the previous edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Princess Fadzilah is making her Games debut.
“It means a lot because ... my heart was in it to compete two years ago but the thing is unfortunately I got injured,” she told CNA after Brunei’s defeat to Singapore in a round-robin game on Wednesday (Nov 25).
“So I’m coming here with a vengeance, I really wanted to come this time and just like put it on my checklist.”
The self-proclaimed “prankster” of the team, Princess Fadzilah said that her teammates have become accustomed to the accompanying security detail.
She said: “I’m one of the girls, honestly ... I’m very used to it, so I ignore it; the girls at first they were a bit like: ‘Woah’.
“I’m like: ‘Guys, come on!’ I think they are used to it now.”
Despite Brunei’s round-robin defeat against Singapore, Princess Fadzilah said that she was proud of the team’s performance.
A gritty showing by the Brunei team saw them lead Singapore in the first quarter and match them for long periods in the second, before eventually losing 62-38.
“I’m very pleased,” said Princess Fadzilah, who plays in the Wing Attack position. “We came in not expecting to beat anyone at anything - I think it’s more of how we perform. And I think today I’m pretty proud.
”What we did wrong yesterday (Brunei’s loss to Thailand) was that we followed the other opponents’ game, I think we just need to stick to the gameplan and just do what we do, just play our game, just stick to the plan and I think that’s it, that’s all we have to do.”
While Brunei have lost both of their opening group games, the Royal Bees still have a chance to progress to the semifinals as the top four of the five teams in the tournament will move on.
”It would be awesome (to win a medal), said Princess Fadzilah, who has two siblings competing in the Games’ polo tournament. “Honestly, I’m just happy to experience this and be here.”
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