By: Ousman Saidykhan
The Gambia Wrestling Association (GWA) has responded to the National Sports Council (NSC) which described their March 13th press conference as misleading.
The GWA called the press for their unveiling of the five-man wrestling squad that is representing the Gambia at the ECOWAS African Wrestling Championship holding from Match 17th -19th in Niamey, Niger.
During the unveiling on Monday, the GWA revealed to the press some of what they referred to as “the unfortunate circumstances meted out on the travelling wrestling team.”
Amongst the concerns of the body overseeing wrestling in the Gambia is the squad’s lack of camping and the differentness of the tracksuits for the team. However, these utterances did not go down well with the NSC.
In a press conference on the 16th of March, the NSC accused GWA of engaging in a smear campaign against them and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
In a counter press conference in the evening of the same day, 16th March, the same day meant to “set the record straight,” GWA debunked such allegation, saying they were disappointed with the NSC for misinterpreting their statements that were just meant to inform Gambians about the circumstances the body and its members found themselves in.
“So, I think it is good that sometimes we are sincere to admit when we are at fault. If we are at fault, we will admit that we are at fault. So, the National Sports Council should admit that they faulted that the team did not go to camp; that the dresses they gave them are not in the same colours; that they gave to each wrestler D20,000 directly and not through the association (GWA).
“Let them admit that they made a mistake and not try to belittle the effort we are doing,” says the Secretary General of GWA, Ebrima Suwareh.
GWA has also debunked the NSC Executive Director Marcel Mendy’s statement that the association uses its money on marriage and naming ceremonies, a statement they took to be very disparaging of their efforts.
“It is very good to encourage people when they are trying and not to damage people when they are trying,” the president of GWA, Serign Modou Faye said.
The wrestling association said they inherited a penniless association when they came and struggled to get some funds only for them to be criticised instead of being praised.
In any case, the wrestling team is already in Niamey, Niger. However, the manner in which the NSC and Sports Ministry handled the trip has not been impressive to the GWA.