Friday, July 13, 2012

Gambia hopes to count on name as wrestling titan

Gambian local wrettlers in a competition in Brikama, West Coast Region
Gambia’s wrestling team currently taking part in the 5th Edition of ECOWAS wrestling championship will be hoping to bank on last year’s success when the country emerged third behind mighty Senegal and Nigeria.

A delegation headed Abdul Aziz Mendy, development officer National Sport Council (NSC), and Pa Suwareh Faye, the deputy director of ministry youth and sports arrived in Dakar on July 11. With them are well known wrestlers: Amadou Loum, and Bakary Jarju and three new faces drawn from the recently concluded national championship.

Last year, Gambia took 3rd in the overall competition which was hosted by Senegal. That gave the country a big name in the ECOWAS sub-region, Mr. Momodou Max Jallow, executive secretary of the NSC said.  In as much as we accommodate other sports we have to support wrestling and develop it at a sustainable level.

He explained the group stages will be held on Thursday, the individual competition on Friday and the final on Saturday, July 14.

Gambian wrestlers arrived in the Senegalese capital, Dakar less than 24 hours before they are due to take on their opponents, but Max Jallow said their arrival a day before the event would not have any impact on their performance whatsoever. “The distance is not far and the roads are good,” he said.

13 of the 15 member states of the sub-regional economic bloc will converge at the sandy arena at the Iba Mar Diop Stadium in Dakar for the three-day event, including Wrestlers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and Senegal. Ghana and Cape Verde are absent.

According to Max Jallow, the tournament is being held in five weight categories - 66kg, 76kg, 86kg, 100kg and 100kg - as well as in country teams.

Max Jallow/PIX: By MSJoof
More support

Mr. Max Jallow also urged Gambians to give maximum attention and support to wrestling, following a very poor turnout during a June 28-30 Sports Ministry-organised national wrestling championship.

The anticipated sponsorship were not also forthcoming, however, the executive secretary said the NSC is ready to work with devoted sponsors to explore opportunities collectively for the development of the traditional sport.

“I think local government authorities need to provide recreational facilities to all sports, particularly wrestling arenas,” he said. “There is not one arena in the whole country.

Written by Modou S. Joof 



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