Jan 8, 2010, 11:03 AM
The Gambia Junior athletics team arrived back from Warri, Nigeria where they grabbed two gold medals and the continental record in the African youth championship hosted there last week.
The hero of the meeting is Gambian sprint sensation Tijan Keita who snatched the gold medal in the 400 meters with a time of 47.39 and shattered the African record in the process.
His compatriot on the track Wandifa Sanneh finished an admirable fourth position at 48.58 sec
The second Gambian gold came in the medley relay in which the combination of Ebrima Camara, Alieu Joof, Alhagie Sonko and Tijan Keita won gold with a time of 53.35.
There was a strong performance from Ebrima Camara who won himself qualifications to the World championship in Ukraine after a 4th place finish in the finals of the 100 meters with a time of 10 .9 sec.
Assan Faye and Alhagie Faye both reached the finals in 200 meters clinching 6th and 7th place respectively, on 22.42.sec and 22.65 sec.
Speaking on arrival at the airport the new African junior championship title holder Tijan Keita, thanked his coaches Modou Njie and Lamin Marikong for a wonderful training and said his secret on the track was hard work and concentration.
“I knew that I came to Nigeria to represent my country so I put all my energy and concentration to the race and am very happy that I made myself and my country proud,’’ he said.
According to coach Lamin Marikong, his team had to battle the extreme heat of boiling temperatures to train hard and concentrate on the task but by and large he is very happy with performance.
“The team did very well given all the flight delays and long road travelling,’’ he said.
The president of the Gambia Athletics Association, Dodou Joof, Capi, who led the welcome party of coaches Bamba Njie and Chico Njie, said the achievement of the junior team is another manifestation that athletics brings the single largest international glory to the country.
“We brought medals from the senior and cadet African competitions, from the Commonwealth youth and senior championships and had the best Olympic performance ever in Gambian history.
“It might be hard to say but we are the best association in the country in terms of achievements,’’ a happy Mr Joof noted.
He expressed profound thanks to the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) for their indispensable funding and facilitation of the Gambia’s performance in the championship.