Jun 28, 2011, 1:05 PM
The Gambia National Softball Association in collaboration with the Japan Softball Association concluded a two day coaching clinic over the weekend.
The first ever coaching clinic organised by the maiden association commenced with the official opening ceremony on Friday at the Olympic House, Bakau.
In his opening statement, Hon Sheriff Gomez, Secretary of State for Youth and Sports said the formation of Softball in The Gambia is in line with the country's expansion of sports development and mapping out strategies to deepening its operation country wide.
"We hope that the birth of Softball will mark a new dawn of ensuring continuity in any sports in the country and end the trend of creating national associations that will later struggle to survive".
He pointed out that to develop sports, it is the responsibility of every one to be committed and endeavour to work hard towards the attainment of a common goal.
"I hope that many Gambians will be able to pick up the game of Softball which has a big advantage of rapidly spreading in the country due to its similarity with the game of Rounders," he concluded.
The Ambassador of Japan, Mr SAITO, spoke on the past records of Japanese Softball pointing out that the relationship between the Gambia and Japan will be further developed from the training and assistance rendered to The Gambia National Softball Association. He also made a presentation on Softball equipment to the Gambian body and an agreement to render assistance to The Gambia on softball was also signed between the two parties.
Speaking earlier, Beatrice Allen, President of the Gambia National softball Association, said as a member of the international Olympic Committee, part of her mandate is the development of any sport especially Softball in the country.
She pointed out that Japan decided to support The Gambia on the development of Softball geared towards national development.
George Gomez, Executive Director of The Gambia National Olympic Committee, speaking on behalf of the President of GNOC Abu- Dandeh Njie, said, " the GNOC is so excited to be part of the formation of this body and happy when this new Olympic sports is formed".
"Softball is new in Africa with less than 20 countries playing the game and is even not played in the All African games. The Gambia will be used as the centre for Softball in Africa".
We are part of the history of Softball in Africa and the Association has the mechanism and plan to introduce the game across the country.
He spoke on the need for all sports to develop beyond Banjul to the provinces as the majority of talented youths are found in the provinces.
A Japanese softball expert and former national coach Ms. Taeko UTSUGI, who spent 43 years in the game as player and coach also spoke at the opening ceremony.
Ms. Taeko UTSUGI conducted the two-day training session.