The Gambia is hosting an International Para sports event for ECOWAS States as part of event marking the International Day for Persons with Disabilities with neighbouring Senegal attending. This second edition is being staged as a social event to recognise the contribution of persons with disabilities in the respective countries.
Over 56 participants are competing in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair Marathon, athletics for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the visually impaired during the three- day event ending with the marathon.
Three other nations Guinea Bissau, Mali and Niger also attended the technical meeting but could not send a team to Banjul because of financial reasons.
The ceremony was officially opened by the president of the Gambia National Paralympic Committee NPC Sulayman Colley who welcomed their counterparts from Senegal and added that sport can help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with disability because it can transform community attitudes about persons with disabilities by highlighting their skills and reducing the tendency to see the disability instead of the person.
Colley thanked the government of the Gambia through the minister of youth and sports who was with them since the beginning to make the hosting a reality..
The NPC President also took the opportunity to express satisfaction with the efforts of the sub-committees, notably the medical, technical and volunteers committee as well as the national sports council’ and partners TAF AFRICA GLOBAL for supporting the NPC to host this international event
The chairman of the National Sports Council Mr. Borri Darboe who deputised the Minister of youth and sports Mr. Henry Gomez said persons with disabilities often face societal barriers and disability evokes negative perceptions and discrimination in many societies.
Mr Darbor further went on to say that sports changes the person with disability in an equally profound way by empowering persons with disabilities to realise their full potential and advocate for change in society.
The NSC chairman highlighted that through sport, persons with disabilities acquire vital social skills, develop independence, and become empowered to act as agents of change.
In conclusion, the NSC Chairman promised to inform the government through the sports minister about the importance of this championship for brothers and sisters with disabilities before officially declaring the 2nd edition of the International Para Sports Championship open in Banjul.
The events started on the same Sunday with the first round of the wheelchair basketball with The Gambia beating Senegal by 38 points to 35.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow and if the Gambia win, they will be crown champions in the wheelchair basketball competition and the Gambia coach is optimistic ahead of the game.
In the athletics, Malang Tamba makes history winning the 100m and 200m races respectively. He finished 1st followed by Senegalese Paul Manneh in 2nd and Salifu Sambou of Gambia finished 3rd beating Paralympian Demba Jarju who finished 5th. In the 200m, Malang Tamba continued with his brilliant effort to complete the double beating his challenger from Senegal Baboucarr Mboob.