EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA:- The Gambia’s Paralympic athletic team returned home on Monday with a historic four medals following a successful campaign at the Tunis 2021 World Para Athletics Grand Prix.
About 480 athletes from 59 countries, including The Gambia, took part in the Africa’s largest Para sport competition that ended on Saturday in Tunisia.
The Gambia’s team won four medals, a historic achievement since the establishment of the national team in 2002.
The leading athlete, Malang Tamba won two bronze in the T54 100m, 400m, and gold in the 800m race while his compatriot Demba Jarju won silver in the 800m T54 race.
Speaking to Eye Africa TV, the team’s head coach, Abdoulie Danso expressed delight over the achievements of his athletes.
“Since the establishment of this committee in 2002 they’ve never registered such a milestone when it comes to Paralympic athletes, so this is the first time the boys are able to come back with four medals in the country that includes all the categories gold, silver, and bronze.”
He also highlighted some of the hurdles his team is faced with. “Of course there were some challenges. The National Youth Council through the Ministry of Youth and Sports are doing their best. But yet still you will learn that the Wheelchair that we are using for this competition is not a compatible one that we should be using. When you look at the once our competitors are using is far more advanced than this.”
The Executive Director of the National Sports Council, Marcel Mendy described what the victory means for The Gambia.
“This means a lot to us, it means that our young people have the talent, our young people are determined, our young people are part of the solution and not necessarily the problems. It means that government is doing a lot in supporting the young once because prior to their travel government supported their travel, government supported the trip so we are quite happy for having won these medals.
With sports, according Mendy, The Gambia’s name can be written alongside other big nations. “This was a tough competition there were big nation’s very big nations for that matter, popular once and this means that with sports we can write the name of The Gambia alongside other countries.”
Malang Tamba, the leading athlete, expressed delight for making history, while dedicating the awards to the Gambian people.
“We thank God Alhamdulillah, this is something that we’ve worked hard for, so if we win is not a surprise to us we’ve worked hard to achieve it and we dedicate this awards to The Gambians because they are the reason why we went there. So we are telling them to know that we can do this.”
To Demba Jarju, even though the competition wasn’t an easy one, they remain determined because they only have the country in mind.
“The competition wasn’t an easy one but we’ve always had our country The Gambia in mind. Our aim is totaled the country’s name to the higher highs and that’s why we are not feeling the pain in it. We’ve seen our leader, he is not in the country at the moment but all his mind is on us and The Gambia and we are ready to do our best for him.”
The Gambia’s Paralympic history began with the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, which featured two Gambian athletes.
Since then, the Gambia has participated in all Summer Paralympics from 2012 onwards but did not participate in Winter Paralympics.
Efforts were made to participate in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, this is the first time The Gambia is winning four Medals in the history of Paralympics.