In her guest blog, Brunei’s first female Olympian, Maziah Mahusin (who is also the Sultanate’s 400m record holder, since the Games), describes what it felt like to carry the nation’s flag into the Stadium; to run for her country (despite a virus), and to meet Usain Bolt and Her Majesty The Queen.
Back in Brunei now, Maziah continues to “inspire a generation” – including by helping the High Commission demonstrate our “Wheelchair Challenge” for a Royal visitor during the Paralympics, and most recently by appearing at Youth Day. Thank you, Brunei, for entering into the spirit of our games so completely. And thank you, Maziah, for letting us share your precious memories.
I remember the overwhelming feeling as I was on my way to the Olympic Games Village. After going through the security check, my teammates and I were taken by bus to our apartment.
The Games Village was nice, even though the room was just basic. I met a lot of world-class athletes and even took photos with them. I almost fainted when I met Usain Bolt! I even met Queen Elizabeth. I got to meet my idol, Sanya Richards-Ross, along with other athletes such as Michael Phelps, Oscar Pistorius, Mo Farah, Tyson Gay, Johan Blake, Allyson Felix, Jessica Ennis – I met all of them! It was great to stay in the same Games Village with them.
At the Olympic Park, the public could watch live screenings of the Olympics – meanwhile, us athletes had free passes to watch all the events!
Inside the Games Village, there were all sorts of services offered, including a free salon and an arcade. The dining hall was awesome! There were a variety of foods, including Halal options. I ate McDonalds for free everyday!
I was overjoyed to be in the village but I had a job to do, and I remained focused for the Games. It was just three days before the London Olympics opening ceremony, and I was already diagnosed with a viral infection, and was receiving treatment from doctors at the Polyclinic Olympic Village. They had advised me to rest and not do any outdoor activities. I had not been training for four days, and I was scared my performance would be affected. But I didn’t want to think about what will happen during the event. I prayed and visualized my race every night before I went to bed.
I couldn’t wait for the opening ceremony, even though I was still sick at that time. I tried to tolerate the pain; I didn’t want to look bad on television! Words could not describe my feelings when they notified me that I would be carrying the Brunei flag.
Hafiy, Anderson and I were overexcited upon entering the Olympic stadium. I was feeling a little nervous because I was the flag bearer. When I first entered the Olympic stadium, I had goose bumps! & they were the best goose bumps I have ever had! The crowd was massive and they were cheering and screaming. When I saw my face on the big screen I pictured myself waving not just to the audience, but also to other spectators who were watching at that moment: my family, friends and everyone. The moment when I walked into the Olympic stadium as part of the Brunei Olympic team, is a moment that I will never ever forget! I will remember it for the rest of my life.
There was a lot of pressure on the day of my event since I was the first female Brunei Olympian. I wanted to do my very best. I didn’t want to let everybody down especially my coach, my family and those who had supported me. Some of the mental pressure I had was when I thought about some of the Bruneians who expected me to win a medal. I was afraid of how my performance would turn out.
I tried to shrug off negative thoughts. My event was about to start. My opponents and I walked 400m to the Olympic Stadium; everybody looked serious so I acted like them too! It was raining heavily but luckily it stopped just before my heat. THIS IS IT! My heart was beating so fast it felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. We entered the stadium and some people from the crowd were shouting, “Go Brunei, Go Brunei!”
I almost gave up when my event was about to start, I was so scared! I even planned on a foul start! But as soon as the starter said, “on your mark”, I said to myself, “This is it, there’s no turning back, this is your only chance, I worked so hard for this!” I thought of my family and my coach, I put away all my negative thoughts and just ran fast! I pushed myself until the finishing line. AND I broke the national record! A lot of media wanted to interview me but I was in rush to see my coach and the others as I was too ecstatic. I met coach – my coach cried! And I cried too! Tears of joy! BEST MOMENT EVER!
The closing ceremony was okay. At first it was exciting but after a while I felt that the ceremony went on for a long time. It was crowded, and I got bored fast as even when there were a lot of artists that provided entertainment, I didn’t get a good view of the performances from where I was standing. But it was still one of the best experiences of my life. I couldn’t believe it was over when the Olympic flame was extinguished. I am waiting for the next Olympics even though it’s four years from now.