Jul 1, 2009, 6:00 AM
Sulayman Colley, president of the Gambia National Paralympics Committee (GNPC) yesterday told reporters at a press conference held at its headquarters in Kanifing that they “lack the support and backing of the Minister of Youth and Sports”.
He made this remark ahead of their outing in the London Paralympics Games in which two athletes from the Gambia, Demba Jarjue and Isatou Nyang, are expected to participate.
He added that the GNPC is conducting a lot of activities in the country “but are not getting the support of the minister”.
He said up to this point in time they (the GNPC) have not been approached by the minister to know their level of preparation or to see the athletes that would be representing the country in the Games, pointing out that at the end they, the sports ministry, would want to take the credit “for what they have not contributed to, if the athletes succeed”.
The most disheartening moment for them, he noted, came when the National Sports Council under the Ministry of Youth and Sports told them they have been deregistered for reasons they did not know.
He described their deregistration as embarrassing, more so that the GNPC should take part in the London Paralympics Games as well as being the only body that is organizing sport for the disabled in the country.
“He who feels it, knows it better,” he said, adding that it is them (the disabled) today but that it can be someone else tomorrow.
It is only the President of the Republic of The Gambia, international sports bodies and certain companies in the country that are helping them, he said.
The qualification of the athletes to the Games was due to hard work and determination, he said, adding that the athletes would do their best to lift the Gambian flag high.
They were supposed to organize an exhibition for the two athletes going to the London Paralympics Games 2012 on Thursday but due to circumstances beyond their control that could not take place.
The exhibition, Colley said, was meant to make it possible for Gambians to know the athletes that will represent the country in the London Paralympics Games 2012.
The event was supposed to start with a road race by Demba Jarju, who will be accompanied by Isatou Nyang, from Tabokoto to the KMC grounds.
He revealed that so far the team has got some air tickets and logistics and that they are hoping the team will leave the country for London on 21 August 2012.
Mamudou Max Jallow, executive secretary of the National Sports Council, when approached at his office to shed light on the deregistration of the GNPC as claimed by its president, said they have not taken a decision to deregister the Paralympics committee as an association in line with the National Sports Council Act and policy directives.
He added that they are aware that the GNPC is going for the London Paralympics Games but there are certain criteria they need to fulfill, such as providing the plan of activity for 2013.
He said an association cannot only be operating in the Greater Banjul Area, but that if national associations are deregistered, they should work as a club until they can meet the criteria and come up as a national association.
He also said they require every association to operate in at least four regions before it can be recognised.
He congratulated the GNPC for qualifying to the Games as well as wished them well, saying they would work with them to ensure they go to the Games fully prepared for success.