Jan 2, 2020, 3:24 PM
Omar Darboe, a junior swimmer from Tanji, West Coast Region, has emerged as the overall champion of the 3rd Edition of the National Open Water Swimming Championship organised by The Gambia Swimming and Aquatic Sports Association (GSASA) at the Ocean Bay Resort and Hotel on 28 December 2013.
Omar Darboe finished the 1.5km race with a timing of 27minutes 29seconds 38nano seconds of to beat all other 29 competitors who came from West Coast Region, North Bank Region, Banjul and Kanifing Municipality.
Omar Darboe received a cash prize of D1,000 and a certificate as winner of the competition.
Mamadi Touray, also a swimmer from Tanji, West Coast Region, came out second position in the junior competition with a timing of 27minutes 37seconds 09nano seconds in the 1.5km race and received a cash prize D750 with certificate.
Modou Lamin Saine a swimmer from Bakau, Kanifing Municipality, took third position in the junior category with a timing 28minutes 16seconds 91nano seconds in the 1.5km race and received a cash prize of D500 with a certificate.
In the senior category, Modou Sanneh, a swimmer from Bakau, Kanifing Municipality, took first position with a timing of 29minutes 08seconds 09nano seconds in the 1.5km race and went home with a cash prize of D1,000 and a certificate.
Sulayman Sarr, also a swimmer from Bakau, Kanifing Municipality, occupied second position in the senior category with a timing of 30minutes 23seconds 03nano seconds in the 1.5km race and as a result received a cash prize of D750 and a certificate.
Jegan Y. Jobe, a swimmer from Barra, North Bank Region, secured third position in the senior category with a timing of 31minutes 45seconds 53nano seconds in the 1.5km race. He received a cash prize of D500 and a certificate.
All other participants received each a certificate of participation.
Pa Alieu Jallow, president of the Gambia Swimming and Aquatic Sports Association (GSASA), in his remarks, thanked Hon. Mass Axi Gai for attending the event despite the short notice.
As an association, their aim for the competition is to be able to have swimmers who would represent The Gambia at international level, he said.
His personal aim and objective as president of the association is to avoid The Gambia being represented in the next Olympics by only one participant, he said, adding that they are trying to ensure they scout from the swimming athletics to get athletes that will represent the country in the next Olympics; instead of just one or two competitors representing the country.
“Our aim is to have more than 10 competitors represent The Gambia in different fields in the next Olympics,” he remarked, saying swimming is a difficult game as it requires a lot of energy.
The reason they are promoting the sport again is to be able to help reduce the rate of people drowning during Sunday beaches, he pointed out, saying they are also trying to make the youth busy with something and avoid sitting down the whole day drinking ‘attaya’.
“They can use this opportunity to represent The Gambia internationally,” he went on, while thanking swimmers for participating in the exercise to show the Gambian nation they can do what many people think they are unable to.
Mass Axi Gai, Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources, said he was privileged and honoured to witness the 3rd Edition of the National Open Water Swimming Championship.
Hon. Gai, who also represented the Minister of Youth and Sports who was on another engagement, added that he was impressed as swimming is anotherlucrative sport if one is able to progress in it internationally.
“Swimming is very important,” he said, adding: “As youth you are encouraged to take it up.”
There were old swimming associations like REGATA that are dead now but thank God the GSASA has revived it to ensure the sport is alive and kicking in the country, the minister noted.
He commended the association and assured its members of Government’s encouragement and support, saying: “You are aware of the sportsmanship of the President of the Republic of The Gambia and how he is encouraging the youth so much so that in any sport you venture you will be supported.”
“From now on we will work with you on much bigger and other events coming,” he told the GSASA, whilst encouraging the swimmers to keep up the good exercise.
Isatou Nyang, vice president of the GSASA, said the championship is a day event but it took them a lot of planning, adding that they started working on it about a month ago and since then had been having series of meetings to ensure everything went as planned.
“The executive have been doing a lot of hard work in order to have a successful event,” she said, adding that they hope the competition would go bigger year in year out.
They were impressed with the swimmers, she said, adding: “In fact we could not believe they could swim that long distance and come out of the water very energetic and strong. Kudos to them - they have done well.”
Come next year they will be having other events which are in the pipeline, Ms Nyang revealed, saying they want those events to surpass this and become better.
VP Nyang said they believe swimming will be taken to higher heights in the country, adding that swimming is for every sex (male and female) hence they are encouraging girls to participate in the sport as the exercise or event has been dominated by male swimmers.
“Swimming is a sport that is good for the health, body, mind and relaxation,” said Ms Nyang, who is the only lady in the GSASA executive.
She called on women to participate in the sport “because if you go to international competitions you see female also swimming and becoming champions”.
“We call on girls and women to have swimming clubs and then participate,” she appealed, saying: “Maybe come next year we will be seeing female swimmers swimming in the female championship.”
They intend to have a lot of activities in 2014, she said, adding that they are considering having another national event during the Independence Day and to also stage regional championships in various regions whereas the winners would be selected for the national championship, to make it a bigger and better event,
Madam Nyang also thanked Minister Mass Axi Gai for his presence, the security personal, especially the Gambia Fire and Rescue Service and Navy, for their support in making sure everybody was safe in the water.
She also thanked the management of Ocean Bay Resort and Hotel for making it possible for them to use the beach for the championship, the guests and all those who contributed in one way or the other in making the competition a success.