May 26, 2014, 10:20 AM
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh, has said it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, policymakers and public officers to give equal attention to all sports in The Gambia.
Mr Jammeh was speaking to reporters in an interview during the Wheelchair Basketball final organised by the Gambia National Paralympic Committee as part of events marking the July 22nd celebrations.
“It is incumbent upon all of us to give equal attention to everybody and that’s why we are present here to give our support,” he said.
This, according to Jammeh, is one of the reasons his office presented some funds to the Paralympic Committee through deputy PS Kumba Conateh, as a proof of their focus on Paralympic activities.
“We want to have everybody engaged in sport, not only in football but all areas of sport,” says PS Jammeh, who used the opportunity to urge the Gambia National Paralympic Committee to keep up “the good job” they have started.
“Stay together as a team; a lot of good things can come out of it (physical and mental development),” he stated, noting that they at the Ministry of Youth and Sports have a clean policy to decentralise and diversify sport.
“We give equal attention to everybody if you are well organised because we want all sports associations to have good structures in place,” he affirmed, saying: “You have to be accountable to the consequence if you want government funds to be given to you. You have to put them where they are identified to be put.”
He also said: “Through the National Sports Council we are getting everybody to re-register and the purpose of this re-registration is to ensure we have national associations that have national characters.”
Mr Jammeh further encouraged national sports associations to come up with annual plans on how they intend to develop sport, have good programmes and go down to regions and district to organise national championships.
“The task is on them to come up with very solid programmes on what they want to do and we will make the necessary resources available to them and get them implemented,” he said.
Ebrima Manka, winner of the wheelchair athletics race, began by thanking God for finishing as the winner of the competition.
“My country is what I have and as a person you should love your country more than anything,” he remarked, saying The Gambia taking first, second and third positions in the race shows that the boys were determined.
“We should have passed this stage because this is where the Senegalese took disable basketball from, so we are going there instead to play basketball, which is why I say the support is lacking and that we have forgotten about sport for the disabled,” he stated.
“We are disabled but people should not consider us as disabled because that is not what we feel, we feel that we are equal to the able-bodied; there is disability in the structure but it actually depends on the brain because the brain is the human being.”
He noted further: “One mind of a disabled is equal to two minds of an able-bodied, this is what I believe and I am urging every Gambian to support us.”
Manka stated that some times they would receive invitations to go and take part in certain competitions but because of lack of sponsorship the invitation letters would expire without sponsorship or support to make use of the opportunities.