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Swimming Clinic for Gambian officials underway

Jun 13, 2014, 11:12 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Gambia Swimming & Aquatic Sports Association (GSASA) on Thursday 12 June 2014 kicked off a five-day swimming clinic for its officials at the University of the Gambia Faculty of Law.

The FINA Clinic for Officials (Judges and Referees) is intended to help the National Federation to provide training to Judges and Referees through the course led by Lecturer Olugbenga Lawal, a member of FINA Technical Swimming Committee and Chairman of the CANA Technical Swimming Committee.

In order to support successful performances in the pool, judges and referees need the best education and training, and thus the retired Nigerian Navy Captain will be taking the 40 participants through the five-day clinic.

Olugbenga Lawal, in his opening remarks, said it is one thing to organise this kind of training sessions but for the benefit of the National Sports Council (NSC) it is also very important to encourage the Gambia Swimming and Aquatic Sports Association to participate actively in championships organised in Africa and within Zone II.

Mr Lawal, who is in charge of nominating officials to officiate African international championships, noted that for our officials to be exposed to participate actively they need to be encouraged by the NSC to attend those championships in the first place before being qualified to be nominated.

“Unlike FIFA and FINA that has a lot of money, the CANA does not have that much money to sponsor all swimmers and officials from various countries to attend African competitions,” he remarked, saying he would appreciate it, but at the same time it will be in the interest of the country if the NSC comes with the assistance to support the GSASA to attend these championships.

With encouragement the executive, officials and swimmers get known and get to improve because even if they are trained but not exposed to any international competition there would be no way they could assess themselves, he further said.

They would only grow as local champions which would not help them to develop, he noted, saying it is when the NSC leads the way in supporting associations, the private sector would chip in because they have seen the Government leading the way and will be proud to come on board.

Isatou Nyang, Vice President, Gambia Swimming and Aquatic Sports Association, described the clinic as very important when it comes to swimming.

They are very lucky to have Mr Lawal, who is an expert in swimming, with them, she added, urging everyone to take the opportunity as well as to tap into the resources of Mr Lawal.

At the end of the day what they want is to have our own officials officiating our competitions in the standard of FINA as well as officiating international competitions, she noted, while thanking FINA for financing the clinic.

Ida Bah, Advocacy and Fund Raising Officer, National Sports Council, said capacity building is important in our day-to-day life.

The GSASA is a young association, she observed, describing the training as a step in the right direction.

In every activity the officials carry the bigger load, Ms Bah stated, noting that it is therefore important to train them, as if things go wrong the other side would blame the officials.

“The NSC will continue to support national associations that are in the right direction, which includes organising such trainings, national championships,” she went on, saying the GSASA is always engaged in these activities.

“The NSC will go all out in ensuring you are supported in your endeavors,” she assured the GSASA.

“Today we are all proud of Bakary Papa Gassama, who is representing The Gambia at the World Cup,” she pointed out, saying, “we are not there as a team to participate in the world cup but we have a referee representing The Gambia.”

“If you officials are well train you can be also officiating international competitions,” she added, urging them to make sure they make best use of the training so that one day “we can also be proud of you like Papa Gassama.”

Arfang Jobe, Technical Director, GSASA, began by giving a brief note of the training, describing the association as lucky as they are the only association in West Africa this year to benefit from the course.

Since the founding of the association in February 2011 they have been engaging in various activities at various regions in the country, he added.