Mar 27, 2020, 9:21 PM
The Gambia National Olympic Committee, GNOC, yesterday formally received the Gambian youth team that won two gold medals in the recent African Junior Championship in Nigeria, to thank them for their achievements. The GNOC paid for the participation of most of the team in the championship.
Addressing the athletes, coaches, and officials of the Gambia Athletics Association, GAA, Beatrice Allen, the first vice president of the GNOC and IOC member, commended the performance of the Gambian team, and said the GNOC is proud to have been of support to the team.
“I want to note that the meeting in Nigeria is part of our preparation for the youth Olympic Games in China, the Commonwealth Games and finally the Rio Games in 2016.”
Ms Allen told the athletes that their performance in getting two gold medals and the African record in the youth championship have made her to believe that the future is bright for Gambian athletics.
“We are proud of you, and I can assure you that the Olympic Movement would be ready to invest in you. We want you to surpass the achievement of Swaibou Sanneh in the last Olympics, to run shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Blake, among others,’’ she said.
The IOC member said The Gambia may be a small country, but it is a great nation, as greatness is not defined by size.
“Once the people are great, the country will be great. We are happy with you, and I can assure you that working with your association boss, Dodou Joof, we shall get you to where you and our nation desire you to go. Now tell your story to the media and the people,’’ Ms Allen chided the athletes.
In his reaction, GAA president Dodou Joof thanked the GNOC for facilitating the trip to Nigeria. Mr Joof assured the GNOC and the athletes that his association is committed to work for the development of Gambian athletics.
“We have dozens of athletes in the police and other services so that they would have regular jobs in addition to sports,’’ Joof said.
Other speakers included Tijan Keita, and coaches Modou Njie and Lamin Marikong, all of whom painted a bright future for Gambian athletics.