Apr 18, 2016, 11:19 AM
Ebrima Jawara, president of the Gambia Golf Association (GGA), has thanked the President of the Republic of the Gambia, sponsors, partners, organising committee members, golf players, members of the media, spectators and everyone that contributed to what he described as the ‘most successful ever’ Gambia Open and Pro-AM tournament.
Mr Jawara, who was speaking on Sunday during the dinner and prize giving ceremony marking the climax of the 2014 Gambia Open and Pro-AM organised by the GGA in collaboration with Fajara Club, added that this year’s event played under the Most Distinguished Chief Patronage of the President of the Republic of The Gambia, H. E. Sheikh Professor Alh Dr Yahya A J J Jammeh, was special in many ways.
The tournament, which was one of the events commemorating the 22nd July Revolution, a period during which golf in the Gambia moved on to the next level, has brought achievement such as the association given out over a million dalasis in prize money, affiliated to the Gambia National Olympic Committee, affiliated to The R&A, affiliated to the International Golf Federation, instituted a national golf handicapping scheme, adopted a national golf anti-doping policy, graduated over 50 kids from golf academies at Bakau New Town Lower Basic School and the Fajara Club and increased number of Gambian pros from 3 to 10.
The year 2014 which is also the year the GGA has celebrated 5 years of existence has also marked a turning point in GGA-Fajara Club relations, the GGA president stated.
The organizing committee comprised GGA Committee Members and Fajara Club Golf Committee Members who worked hand-in-hand to ensure the tournament went smoothly, he went on, saying letters for sponsorship bearing both the GGA and Fajara Club logos, were sent out, signed by Alan Collins and him (Ebrima Jawara).
“This spirit of cooperation and togetherness, can only be to the benefit of both GGA and Fajara Club, a win-win situation for the Game of Golf in The Gambia,” he highlighted.
On that note, he thanked members of the Organizing Committee including Modou Drammeh, Anthony Tabbal, Pa Jatta, Petra Gardner, Peter Millar, Dave Costello, Suzanne Lanfermeijer and Alan Collins, for working tirelessly towards making this tournament a success.
He as well thanked their sponsors and partners who made the tournament the ‘most successful ever’, particularly H E. the President of the Republic of The Gambia Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A J J Jammeh, Fajara Club, Gambia Tourism Board, H. E. Ambassador Mohamed bin Nasser Issa Al Kaabi, Binter Canarias S. A., Mansour Auto Parts, Lady Njaimeh Jawara, Green Mamba Restaurant, GreenTech Environmental Solutions, Coco Ocean Resort and Spa, Multi Trade (Gambia) Ltd., Dambell Business Corporation (DBC) and DDS.
Mr Jawara also thanked members of the media for their support. In particular, Haji Drammeh of West Coast Radio, Cherno Omar Bobb of The Point newspaper, Baboucarr Camara of the Daily Observer, and Baboucarr Senghor of GRTS, for their extensive coverage of the tournament.
“On behalf of the GGA I thank all the players who came from abroad to take part in our tournament,” he went on, adding: “We thank them and their sponsors for making their trip to Banjul possible.”
“Special thanks go to the professional golfers from Sierra Leone and the amateurs from Senegal who came here determined to win as many prizes as possible,” he further said, noting: “I am glad that they will not return empty-handed, and hope that they will be here next year.
“To the other members of Fajara Club – we say thank you - for taking part as contestants, spectators, maintenance crew, etc.”
This year’s tournament saw GGA members who are not Fajara Club members, take part in the amateur category of the competition, Mr Jawara, a keen golfer said, adding that a few caddies who fall under this category played, and they hope that this will reassure them that they are valued members of the golfing community and improve on their image.
No tournament would not be complete without controversy, he observed, saying, this year’s was the issue of professionals using mats on the fairway.
A decision was taken after considering certain facts - that mats would not be used, he said, but that, unfortunately, one or two professionals took exception to that ruling, which may have affected their game and end result.
“All I can advise is that in future, please allow the administrators to administer the game and concentrate on your game,” he advised pros responsible.
“Once again I thank you all for participating and wish our visitors a safe journey back home, and hope to see you all at our next tournament,” he concluded.
Val Brooker, Chairperson Fajara Club, in her welcoming remarks, also thanked the President of the Republic of the Gambia for his Chief Patronage and continuous support to the game of golf in The Gambia.
In working and consolidating their relationships with the National Sports Council and Gambia National Olympic Committee they look forward for the future, she added, while also thanking their sponsors.
The tournament has provided an opportunity for the renewed and development of the partnership between the GGA and Fajara Club, Mrs Brooker stated while sincerely thanking Ebrima Jawara and the GGA Committee as well as the Fajara Club for working so hard to ensure the tournament is a success.
She congratulated all participants for their inputs in making the past few days a success, and as well thanked the visitors for coming and hope they will come again. In conclusion she also thanked the ground workers of the course and anyone that contributed in making the tournament a success.
Omar Sey, Health and Social Welfare Minister, in his remarks, began by expressing delight with being part of the occasion.
He assured the GGA of his Minister and the Minister of Youth and Sports willingness to work with them for the development of golf in the Gambia.
“We are assured of a good leadership and management in golf,” he pointed out, while also joining earlier speakers in thanking the President of the Republic of the Gambia for being the Chief Patron of the tournament.
The tournament came when his Ministry and Ministry of Youth and Sports came up with the initiative of Sports for Health, he stated, saying the next time they organise the competition they will as well include golf because of the trust they have on golf leadership and management.
Benjamin Roberts, Chairman Gambia Tourism Board, for his part, said it was a pleasure for them at GTBoard to have participated and collaborated with the GGA and Fajara Club in being part of sponsors of the event.
He described golf is a tourism product which they (GTBoard) are quite fascinated to be associated with and would want to continue to partner with GGA in sponsoring the event.
“I am glad that the issues that had happened between the GGA and Fajara Club is now over,” he remarked, saying they welcomed the collaboration that had happened and for the competition to take place under that atmosphere.
“We can also promote golf on your behalf because we have the capacity and rich to do that,” he told the GGA, but added that they want the collaboration between the GGA and Fajara Club to continue to go from strength to strength.
Dodou Kassama, winner Gambia Open and Pro-AM, expressed delight with winning the 2014 Gambia Open and Pro-AM which he said was his dream of one day being champion.
He described playing against top professionals who are more experienced and more exposed in the international arena than him as was very tough, “but that in golf all you got to do is just have to trust yourself and go out and do what you can”.
Kassama, who turned professional in 2010, added that “this was what I did during the tournament and it worked for him”.
Winning the Gambia Open and Pro-AM 4 years after turning professional is a milestone in his career, Campo, as some refer to him, stated while calling on sponsors as golf needs sponsorship.
“You cannot do it on your own without sponsorship as a professional golfer,” he remarked, saying: “This is what is hampering our improvement in the Gambia as professional golfers.”
“I hope from here winning would be coming my way,” Kassama, who is also preparing for another tournament in Senegal, said, noting that he is really confident at the moment.
“My moral and confidence is high and I am expecting to do well in Senegal,” he concluded.
Anthony Tabbal, Treasurer Gambia Golf Association, chaired the ceremony.