Shattered Hopes

Aug 11, 2020, 11:44 AM

Athletics is one of the most popular sports in the world, and equally, the most watched live event in The Gambia. Looking at its nature, it requires months of preparations just to prove oneself in a single day.

And in some unfortunate situations, one would consistently train a 9 month period just to be disqualified for a false start. But as far as training is concerned, it's never too late to fix such.

After what seemed like ages without feeling the pounding of the ground by our feet, pre-season called. 2020 athletic season was to be fetched soon enough. We received the call and gave it a positive response: a response of hope, commitment, determination, and of course a response that resembles the taste for victory.

To add fire to the response, some would have to look for their sport shoes, perhaps covered by dust already and bring them back to life. Those without proper shoes would have to squeeze themselves at the sardine-like population of Serekunda market to buy a pair of shoes so as to embrace the opening of the 2020 athletic pre-season.

Different coaches, different teams, different programs, different schedules, but one common goal, VICTORY.

As the pre-season unfolds, strength and endurance defines us hence they are the foundation stones in making a good season. Day in day out, we emit sweat in the quest for VICTORY. Such is possessed by those true to the game because no one is a winner unless proven.

As the cycle in the above text continues, pre-season subsides gradually by time. As early as December, all teams would shift training programs to speed enhancement. Then, gone would be the days when we always hear the pounding of sport shoes on the track, which equally entails different athletes, different categories, different events, different competitions, but again, the same common goal, VICTORY!

As the season climbs to its pinnacle, the eager we become. A car without a driver has no destination; so does an athlete without a coach. Thus, thumbs up to our coaches who wouldn't blink an eye just to see our perfection. The sounds of their whistles fill the atmosphere every now and then.

Ms Sallah, known for her competency in coaching, manages her team called “Team Sallah”; a combination of students and national athletes.

Ismaila Manga on the other end, known for his strictness, manages his Chinese population team, Team Eis.

The Sprinters hub/Team Daaha; made up of a handful of sprinters, but dynamic in style. It is believed to be a team that grabs the attention of many.

Team GAF on the flank side and of course Team Ebou who trains in the afternoon with his Mass Kah athletes. He moulded fine athletes this season.

All this while, the world was at war with an invisible enemy, but we paid no attention. As it is well known that viruses are deadly in nature, Corona Virus A.K.A COVID-19 is not an exception. Its unsplittable size makes it invisible and it multiples by the minute and spreads by the hour. Its impact increases rapidly like a bush fire in the harmattan, making millions of people around the globe weep, displacing families, friends and love ones. Slowly and gradually, it crept unnoticeably into many nations, killing hundreds of thousands of people and infecting millions.

Little do we know that it was heading to our little motherland, The Gambia. The authorities gave it a deaf ear and a blind eye until the first imported case was reported. Upon that announcement, everyone went helter-skelter. Banks, supermarkets, markets, retailing shops, etc. made business like no man's business. Stores filled with foodstuffs in order to fight not the enemy, but starvation because everyone is to stay indoors.

Everything was going just well until we were hit by a news that all places of gathering including sporting activities shall remain closed. This stood on for the rest of the year. The nature of the news hit us so hard that our hopes shattered. STAY HOME, STAY SAFE became the order of the day. Home workout became the alternative to collective trainings. The lockdown feels like off-season already. This is the longest break we ever endured, so does the world.

We hope and pray that the world is corona-free someday so we can all go back to our normal lives again.


Written by: Ebrima M Sowe

Student-athlete UTG, Gambia national athletes