According to Mr Joof, an international athletics official himself, more than a dozen national athletes are currently in Dakar Senegal, training, “because renovation works at the Independence Stadium, the only place with standard athletics track in The Gambia, is not yet completed.
“The lack of track means we have to look elsewhere in order to keep our athletes at standard preparedness for the championship, the biggest meeting of African athletics,” he said.
Accordingly, Mr Joof went on, the GAA negotiated a partnership with Diaraf Athletics Club in Dakar under which Gambian athletes are admitted into their club, receiving training and taking part in championships in Senegal and beyond.
“We are very fortunate to have a good relationship with Diaraf’s boss Alieu Sowe and wife Naif Kone, who are very useful in our project to have our athletes in full shape ahead of the championship,” he said.
Mr Joof further said the GAA has successfully landed an Olympic Solidarity scholarship for two other athletes, Adama Jammeh and Omar Jammeh, to attend the IAAF High Performance Centre for West African which is also based in Dakar. The duo has since started the programme.
Asked what is the feedback from this outsourcing of athletes to Diaraf, Joof said the arrangement “fits The Gambia very well, providing excellent exposure to top class facilities and good conditions”, which under the present state of the stadium, would have been impossible.
Mr Joof said there are few other very talented young athletes who could go to Dakar under the Diaraf programme but because they are going to school they could only go in the holidays.
The following are some of the Gambian athletes in Dakar:
Fatou Sowe, Fatou Ngum, Gina Bass, Isatou Camara, Omar Jammeh, Adama Jammeh, Mustapha Manga, Buba Darboe, Lamin Keita, Ismaila Manga, Ebrima Camara, Assan Faye, Ebrima Jarjue, Lamin Sanneh and Pa Alieu Jarjue.
Author: Lamin Cham]]>