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Statement by Sainabou Kujabi-Njie, president of The Sports Journalists Association of The Gambia on the occasion of The 3rd National Sports Award on Saturday July 2nd 2011

Jul 5, 2011, 3:40 PM

Mr Chairman

Honorable ministers

Service chiefs

Ladies and gentlemen

The sporting fraternity

Colleagues from the press

It is an honour and privilege for me to welcome you all on this auspicious occasion, marking the 3rd edition of the National Sports Award.

Today’s occasion is a clear testimony of the Sports Journalists Association of the Gambia’s recognition that sports plays an integral role in the socio-Economic development of any nation as well as serving as a powerful tool for moulding people, communities and promoting peace.

The Sports Journalists Association of the Gambia National Award is awarded annually to sportsmen who have been outstanding during the previous year. The Sports Awards was established in 2007 under the leadership of the then President Namory Trawally and was supported by its partners such as Africell, football Digest and the Kairaba Beach Hotel.  The first gala was held on December 25, 2007 at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

The second edition was held on April 28, 2009 at the Independence Stadium Friendship Hotel. The third edition which is finally taking place tonight is part of efforts to raise the profile of Gambian sports among sports elite nations.

We are all aware that in countries all over the world, Sports Journalists Associations are mandated to stage National awards as part of their quota in promoting not only sports but national development as well.

It is for this reason and in our quest to raise the standard of national sports that we are gathered here today to celebrate the achievements of our beloved sportsmen.

As we celebrate this day, I will also want to remind you of a historical event in the international sports journalists’ calendar.  Today is World Sports Journalists Day. This day is also set aside by the International Sport Press Association (AIPS) to be commemorated globally by its affiliates and member countries every year.

The Sport Journalists Association of The Gambia celebrated the event for the first time in The Gambia in 2008.

This year we would want to use this day to re-affirm our commitment to upgrade the standard of Sports reporting in our various mediums and to solicit for more training opportunities for our members.

It is evident that since our formation in 1998, the Sports Journalists Association could not have been where it is today, without the tireless efforts of its dynamic leaders. Alh Pap Saine, who is the first president of the association and now decorated the Honorary Live President of the Sports Journalists Association of the Gambia was part of the founding fathers. Mr Namory Trawally who headed two consecutive terms as president of the association deserves commendation for moving what could be described as a giant hurdle and making a breakthrough into Gambian sports reporting.

I salute you for your dedication to this noble course.

On this note, I will like to thank members of the Award committee for their commitment, dedication patience and patriotism shown in this engagement.

My appreciation and thanks goes to all our sponsors, media partners and guests; Nusrat Ceesay, Khalilu Fadiga, El Haji Diouf and entourage for their support to this initiative and commitment to the development to Gambian sports.

While I am pleased to note that the national Sports Journalists award is here to stay and needs proper support by all and sundry, it is my pride and honour to have you here today.

I thank you for your attention and please do enjoy the rest of the evening.