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West African teams struggle as London Olympics unfold

Aug 3, 2012, 11:19 AM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s UK Correspondent

Despite well known as great athletes, especially in their personal capacities as sports-men and women; the West African teams representing their own countries here have faltered in the face of stronger teams from other parts of the world.

However, that momentum was about to change when  Senegal had a late equaliser at Old Trafford as a result of Moussa Konate’s late goal against host country, the United Kingdom.

But this wasn’t a win instead it was only a 1-1 draw.

Supporters of the West African teams here are hoping for the best to come, but at the moment such teams are lagging far behind, prompting many to keep asking questions why the sub-region’s best known names have not done well so-far.

The host country, UK, was equally frustrated without any gold medal until a few hours ago when it acquired its first gold.

In fact, the UK was hoping to win Senegal when Craig Bellamy put the hosts in front with a clinical volley. However the West Africans fought back, when Konate struck eight minutes from time.

Nonetheless, all ‘the predicted nightmares’ over traffic jam, as well as security lapses have been overcome so far.

This correspondent visited Strafford Station where thousands of people from around world, including journalists and photographers, gather on a daily basis.

There too traffic was running smoothly uninterrupted. At the same station, Prime Minister David Cameron was later seen standing at a platform waiting for a train and soon boarding it with a single body-guard. He was also seen greeting people at random, and speaking to commuters.

In other stations around the Olympic venue, both the underground and over ground trains were seen at least every three to five minutes thus making transport easier for travellers.

Also the buses were running on time, and most amazing is the number of volunteers including both the young and the old directing, and helping people to their various destinations.

Many families too are also not on vacation, but instead are picnicking among the fabulous wild flowers and gardens around. Some are seen inside various bars and restaurants enjoying themselves.

Security is also not taken lightly by the police and military.

This correspondent saw armed officers around the station walking firmly but calmly and also distancing themselves from commuters. Police officers continued helping people in their questions and queries.

Two officers who spoke to this correspondent at one of the station near-by the venue said any ‘luggage must be attended to’, and those with ‘kids must make sure that their bags are looked after’.

According to respected observers of the Games, the organisers have ‘done a marvellous job’ since the opening ceremony took place at 9pm on 27 July 2012.

It was described as a ceremony ‘for everyone as well as the creativity and exuberance of British people’.