12 January 2012

Gambia: GNPC Identify Athletes Ahead of 2012 Paralympics Games

The Gambia National Paralympics Committee has identified two athletes ahead of the 2012 Paralympics games to be hosted in London 2012. The two athletes -Ida Nyang and Demba Jarju are currently undergoing a five-day-a-week intensive training at the Independence Stadium in Bakau. The athletes though are currently training outside the tracks due to the ongoing maintenance work on the stadium facilities.

Basiru Faye, who heads the team as the coach, said the athletes started training a month ago. He said the training was long overdue, while complaining of lack of proper training materials, which caused the delay. Faye also stressed the need for the athletes to have the marathon bike which is more difficult to train with compared to the wheelchair they will be using at the competition.

He said the athletes are currently concentrating on the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters races ahead of the competition with a timing of each meters race. Marathon race, he said is all about timing and the lesser time an athlete consume determines the winner, so as an athlete the lesser your timing the better you become. "The timing of the athletes differ at the moment they are currently running 15, 17, 18, 19 which is good but I still encourage them to reduce more of the timing and before the competition itself I know that they will have a good timing."

Ida Nyang the only competitive female athlete at the Paralympics, who was also awarded the Paralympics sport's athlete of the year by the Sports Journalists Association of The Gambia in 2010 during their sports persons of the year award ceremony held at the Jerma Beach Hotel, said she is preparing well for the Games, while accusing commercial taxi drivers of discrimination. She said they usually refuse to allow her to enter their vehicles, causing her to arrive late for training, since she has to trek with her wheelchair.

Another athlete, Demba Jarju, said being selected to represent The Gambia at an international competition is a big task. He further said he is looking forward to making history in Gambian Paralympics at the international level. "I am Demba Jarju as a person but will be seen as a Gambian at the international level, I am not praying to represent my country and come out with nothing, and with the help of the general public we can make a difference at the international level," he added.

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