The Gambia Wrestling Association, GWA, president Serign Modou Faye Cham yesterday told The Standard that the Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted a big blow to the fast-growing popularity and professionalisation process of wrestling in The Gambia. Cham, who took over the association in 2017, said the change of government itself and the new found freedom it brought about galvanised many interested promoters, wrestlers and even clubs to apply for licenses, increase investments and signed many big contracts.
” In our case it came as a shock that was never imagined. Big contracts like Leket versus France, Building versus Boy Balla or Tapha Tine versus Malian all bite the dust when Covid-19 hit the nation with the restrictions on public gathering.
The result is that big money deals have been suspended, wrestlers went without income and promoters who have already invested money stayed in anxiety,” he said.
The GWA president said prior to the lock- down, the country has over 100 licensed wrestlers and about 22 more clubs have come forward to register.”But all that enthusiasm has died down with the freeze on activities. And for a sport which has no international subvention the absence of activities effectively rendered both our association and its members broke and dysfunctional,” Cham lamented.
He revealed though that most wrestlers remained hopeful that their career dreams will be back on course.”The main problem is the uncertainty surrounding the whole thing. You simply don’t’ know when you can go back to do things you normally do,” he said.
The GWA president disclosed that after spending three months without any event as ordered by the National Sports Council in respect of Covid- 19 prevention, the fraternity has suffered economically. Mr Cham therefore urged the Ministry of Sports to consider helping sports associations such as the GWA from the Sports Levy fund. “I think this is the best opportunity for the Ministry to help sports associations to get back to life when the lockdown is over,” he observed. Mr Cham assured all wrestling fans and the entire fraternity that his executive remains committed to deliver on their pledge to develop wrestling in The Gambia.