Jun 6, 2016, 12:33 PM
Since then, Adama Jammeh, Omar Jammeh and Gina Bass have already started their programme at the IAAF High Performance Center (HPC) in Dakar, Senegal.
The remaining two, Sensational and promising sprinters Alieu Joof, 18, and Assan Faye, 19, are expected to leave Banjul in the earlier hours of Thursday October 29, 2015 to Port Harcourt, Nigeria, for a yearlong training camp.
While in Nigeria, the athletes will be privileged to further their education coupled with a well-designed training programme in their quest to secure an Olympic qualifying standard for RIO 2016 Games next year.
Alieu Joof, who reached the final of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China with a time of 10.96 in the 100m, is hoping to further raise the bar by qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games.
His counterpart Assan Faye, a 200m specialist, will be expecting to do better than the 22.42 seconds he recorded in the 200m at the African Youth Championship in Warri, Nigeria.
Addressing the two athletes at the Olympic House on Tuesday, GNOC treasurer Ousman B. Wadda implored them to be good ambassadors of the Olympic Movement and by extension The Gambia as a nation.
He said it takes great strive for GNOC to secure the scholarship for them and in turn they should put great effort to achieve the desired results.
“Nigeria and Gambia have good relationship; make sure you respect the laws of the land and concentrate on what took you there” he advised the duo.
The GNOC treasurer and chairman of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) technical Committee reassured the athletes of GNOC’s continuous support in the development of Gambian sports.
For his part, the administrative officer of GNOC, Muhammed K. Janneh, urged the duo to balance the educational and training component of the scholarship.
“Make sure that one should not overshadow the other. You have our contacts; don’t hesitate to contact us when the need arises. Stay together as one family, respect your coaches, teachers and fellow athletes,” Mr Janneh stressed.
Reaction of the athletes
ASSAN FAYE: 200M AND RELAY
“I am very happy to be awarded scholarship to Nigeria; I thank GNOC management, Gambia Athletics Association and our coaches for their support. They have been with us for long time. I was not surprised to get the scholarship, I saw it coming because I have put lot of efforts in recent years and this is the fruit of my hard labour. Going to Nigeria is a challenge for us because we are one out of hundreds and we need to prove it by securing qualification to RIO 2016.”
ALIEU JOOF: 100M AND RELAY“This is a great opportunity for us especially for me after my appearance at the Youth Olympic Games last year in Nanjing, the next step is to compete at the Olympic Games proper in Rio 2016. We are going to Nigeria to fight and hope to get the Olympic qualifying standards. Our dreams could not have been a reality if it was not the support from The Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) through GAA and the great efforts put up by our coaches.”