Jul 9, 2008, 7:20 AM
The 4th edition of the Ecowas traditional wrestling competition came to an end at the weekend in the Senegalese capital of Dakar with Gambia winning a bronze medal after finishing as the third best team, as well as a silver medal in the individual category, Pointsport has gathered.
The sub-regional championship is intended to promote traditional wrestling - the sport identified by Ecowas body as number one in the sub-region.
Thirteen out of fifteen member countries participated in the competition with the exception of Nigeria and Ivory Coast, who are still struggling following months of political unrest.
The Gambia entered into the sub-regional championship as one of the underdogs but left the tournament as a force to be reckoned with after series of some eye-catching performances finishing the tournament as bronze medal winners with some individual accolades to its name.
The Gambian side comprising Famara Jarju, Bakary Jarju, Mariama Bojang, Ebrina Sarr and Amadou Ndure won bronze medal, finishing 3rd best team, as well as silver medals.
In the national team category, The Gambia comfortably defeated Togo and Liberia, easily wrestling down their opponents, before losing out to Nigeria in the semi-final.
The Gambian team however bounced back from the semi-final defeat to beat Niger in the 3rd place play-off with Famara Jarju, Ebrima Sarr and Amadou Ndure heroically wrestling their opponents down in some cracking bouts, to send The Gambia on the podium to collect the bronze medal.
In the individual category, The Gambia’s Ebrima Sarr and Amadou Ndure won silvers in the 100 and 120kg respectively.
Meanwhile, defending champions and host Senegal successfully retained the title.
The Senegalese team, who were better prepared, won almost every gold medal that was up for grab, while Nigeria secured the runner-up place.
Reacting to The Gambia’s marvellous performances in the tournament, officials of the team were unanimous in commending the wrestlers for re-instating the country’s name on the sub-regional wrestling map.
The executive secretary of the National Sports Council and head of the Gambian delegation, Mamud Max Jallow, hailed the fantastic performance of the team.
He challenged all stakeholders to develop wrestling from its current stage.
The deputy-director of sports, Pa Suwareh Faye, was equally impressed with the Gambian wrestling team. He applauded the wrestlers and the technical team for putting up a team capable of going as far as finishing 3rd out of 13 countries.
The team coach, Omar Jeng, and Serring Modou Juke paid a special tribute to Mamud Max Jallow and Pa Suwareh for their personal intervention to ensure The Gambia’s participation in the competition. “Their efforts need to be applauded,” the coach of the team said of the duo.
One person who was equally delighted was The Gambia’s deputy high-commissioner in Dakar, Binta Singhateh. She was among few Gambians out of thousands of spectators that cheered the Gambian team while in Dakar.
After the tournament, the Gambian diplomat paid homage to The Gambian team for making the whole country proud.