2nd edition of Int’l Para Sports underway

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

As part of events marking the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, The Gambia has again welcomed their counterparts from neighboring Senegal for the International Para Sports Events for ECOWAS States.

The NPC Gambia is hosting the 2nd edition of the International Para Sports as a social event to recognize the contribution of persons with disabilities in their respective countries.

The championship officially got underway on Sunday with series of activities for contestants from Gambia and Senegal. 

The 2017 event has currently recorded over 56 participants in a friendly competition in the following activities: Wheelchair basketball, wheelchair Marathon, athletics for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and athletics for the visually impaired during the three day contest ending tomorrow at the Independence Stadium with the Marathon event.

The other nations who were in Banjul for the technical meeting on November 3 are Guinea Bissau, Mali and Niger. But they could not make it to the 3 December championships because of financial constraints they faced at the final stages of preparation to the 2017 edition in The Gambia.  . 

The ceremony was opened by president of the Gambia national Paralympic Committee, Sulayman Colley, who started his opening remarks by welcoming their counterparts from Senegal.

‘Mr Colley said “sport can help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with disability because it can transform community attitudes about persons with disabilities by highlighting their skills and reducing the tendency to see the disability instead of the person.”

Colley thanked the government of The Gambia through the Minister of Youth and Sports, who has been with them since the beginning to make the hosting a reality.

“We would like to also extend our gratitude to the president of the republic of the Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow for his government’s financial support to accommodate and feed all the participants including our stakeholders.”

The NPC President also took the opportunity to express satisfaction with the efforts of the sub-committees notably the medical committee, technical committee volunteers of the national sports council’’ and their esteemed partners TAF AFRICA GLOBAL for supporting the NPC Gambia to host the international event

The chairman of the National Sports Council Mr. Bori Darboe deputized for the Minister of youth and sports Mr. Henry Gomez. In his opening remarks, the NSC Chairman said persons with disabilities often face societal barriers and disability evokes negative perceptions and discrimination in many societies as a result of that stigma associated with disability.

Mr Darbo stressed that sports changes the person with disability in an equally profound way by empowering persons with disabilities to realize their full potential and advocate for change in society.

The NSC chairman highlighted that through sport, Persons with Disabilities acquire vital social skills, develop independence, and become empowered to act as agents of change

In conclusion, the NSC Chairman promised to inform the government through the sports minister about the importance of this championship for brothers and sisters with disabilities before officially declaring open the 2 edition of the International Para Sports Championship in Banjul.

The events started on the same Sunday with the first round of wheelchair basketball competition. The Gambia triumphed against their Senegalese counterparts beating them by 38 points to 35 points at the independence stadium basketball court.

Speaking to the media after the game, Ebrima Carvalho, head coach of the Gambia team said their opponents Senegal had been together for long time and that made the game interesting.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow and if the Gambia wins they will be crowned champions in the wheelchair basketball competition and the Gambia coach is optimistic ahead of the game.

Athletics however, is one of the four sports featured in the first International Para Sports, held in Guinea Bissau in which athletes competed in a total of 5 medal events.

 On Monday Malang Tamba made history winning the 100m and 200m races respectively. He finished 1st followed by Senegalese Paul Manneh in 2nd and Salifu Sambou of Gambia finished 3rd beating Paralympian Demba Jarju who finished 5th.

In the 200m Malang Tamba continued with his brilliant effort to complete the double beating his challenger from Senegal Baboucarr Mboob.  

Author: Hagie Drammeh, GNPC Press Attaché