KUALA LUMPUR: IT was celebrity watching at the Sea Games as more than 3,000 spectators turned up for Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s face-off against Brunei Prince Abdul Mateen Bolkiah at the Putrajaya Equestrian Park today.
The fans saw KJ’s national polo team score a 12-4 win over Brunei to start their campaign with a bang.
Riding horse No 1, Khairy said he did not expect to win by such a margin considering the fighting spirit shown by Brunei
Malaysia led 2-1, 5-2, 8-2 in the first, second and third chukkas with the score remaining at 12-4 for the last two.
“We found our rhythm in the second chukka and managed to control the match until the end,” said Khairy.
“Brunei are a strong team and I myself had to play defence to stop Princess Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah who could have scored much more if allowed the space.
“We were lucky as we were informed early (to watch out for Princess Azemah), which is why the coach asked me to mark her.”
Supporting Khairy from the stands was former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is Khairy’s father-in-law, his wife Nori Abdullah and children Jibreil Ali, Timor Abdullah and Raif Averroes.
Khairy said he was surprised with the crowd turnout during the match.
“Today was a celebrity match. Prince Abdul Mateen and Princess Azemah are both very nice and down to earth.
“I was very surprised with the numbers today. The final of the Malaysian Open Polo Tournament did not have this many spectators.”
Khairy said Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin’s victory in the equestrian endurance event had put pressure on him to deliver as well.
“We have to be prepared for our next opponent.”
Malaysia will play Singapore on Thursday.
Translated from Berita Harian