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Limelight on Suwaibou Sanneh: Gambian sprinter

Oct 20, 2011, 12:50 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

The Gambia Athletics Association is no doubt blessed with a good number of magnificent athletes who have made and continue to make a mark in the athletics field, and one such example of a fantastic talent is Gambian sprinter Suwaibou Sanneh.

The 100 and 200 metres sprinter Suwaibou was born in Jarra Soma in the Lower River Region on 30 October 1990.

Sanneh graduated from the Gambia Senior Secondary School, where he also took up athletics as a career, having represented the school in a host of athletics championships on the domestic front.

He has since forged a good reputation as one of the hottest properties in the country’s athletics landscape.

But it was on the international stage where he made the biggest impact, representing the GAA in a series of high-profile athletics championships, such as the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.

The 21-year-old, who has developed himself into becoming a household name not only in The Gambia but also in the world, has globetrotted the length and breadth of the world to compete in various international athletics championships.

One of the international athletics competitions Sanneh took part in was the Olympic Games held in Beijing, China, with some outstanding achievements to be optimistic about, as he intensifies yet another preparatory effort ahead of another Olympic Games due to kick off in London next year.

The Gambia’s London Olympic hopeful began his athletics career in 2006, and represented The Gambia during the Zone 2 athletics championship in Dakar the same year.

He proceeded to take part in a series of high-profile international competitions under the GAA’s umbrella.

Among them was the West Africa Junior Athletics Championship hosted by Ivory Coast, but a hamstring injury hampered his chances of any championship success, during a trouble hit campaign in Cote d’ Ivoire in 2006.

Despite suffering from a career-threatening injury in his left leg in 2006, Sanneh courageously went on to represent The Gambia at the ANOCA athletics Games in Bamako, Mali, and he did not disappoint the nation after his eye-catching performance saw him win a bronze medal in the 100 meters and a gold medal in the relay as The Gambia finished 2nd behind neighbours Senegal at the end of that campaign.

The young athlete sensation proceeded to the All Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria, and helped the Gambia finish 4th position after his hope of adding another gold medal to his medal cabinet was frustrated by fellow athletes from other countries such as Ema Dulo from Nigeria, who defeated him in the fight to claim the top accolade.

Suwaibou, 21, was also part of a whole host of other top athletes from around the world that converged in Burkina Faso to compete in the 100 and 200 metres, but he eventually missed out a spot in the 100-metre race following his late arrival at the games.

Although Sanneh made a remarkable recovery from that disappointing moment, and proceeded to the finals of the 200 metres, he lost the battle in the process.

He won 7 gold medals in a week, 4 in Lome, Togo, and 3 in Guinea Bissau during the West Africa Junior Championship and Zone 2 senior athletics championships in 2008.

That same year, Suwaibou won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Youth Games in India, and progressed to the Olympic Games in Beijing.

He described his career threatening hamstring injury sustained at the International Invitation (J3A) championships in Jamaica in 2006 as the biggest and the worst setback throughout his entire athletics career.

Sanneh tore a bone on his left leg, which kept him on the sidelines for up to a year, but returned to action in stunning fashion to replicate his athletics successes at the Africa athletics championship in Nairobi, Kenya, with a top place finish in the heats in 2010.