By Landing Ceesay
President Adama Barrow handed over the battle-flag to Gambian athletes ahead of their departure to the Commonwealth and Islamic Games in England and Turkey.
The Gambian contingents paid a courtesy call to the President where he bade the athletes farewell and handed over them the Gambian flag on Friday.
He urged the athletes to represent and be the ambassadors of The Gambia at the competitions.
The Gambian President also urged the athletes to be disciplined, but never allow their colleagues from big countries to intimidated them.
Barrow said sports is very big in the world and that sportsmen and women can represent their countries at the highest levels as ambassadors.
“If you talk about Sadio Mane, or Muhammad Salah. They are ambassadors of their countries. They make their countries very famous. So you are very important and you represent the Gambia. Today, we are the beach volleyball champions in Africa; and we are also the 200 meters champions. These are very big for a small country like the Gambia.
“But one thing is very important, if you are doing sports or anything, you have to have confidence in yourself and also work as a team. Working as a team is key to success, and I think the GNOC President and the Minister of Youth and Sports, their working relationship is paying off for this country,” he said.
The head of state assured the athletes of his government’s commitment and political will to supporting sports in the Gambia.
“Our commitment to supporting sports is more than 100% and we want results. We want you to bring results for us because you have your fans back home here who are following you both day and night,” the Gambian leader said.
The Gambian contingents are preparing to fly out for the 2022 Commonwealth Games that would run from 28th July to 8 August in to Birmingham; and the 2021 Islamic Games in Konya, Turkey, from 9th to 19th August 2022.
Sixteen (16) athletes are set to represent the Gambia in the Commonwealth Games; while 25 would be representing in the 2021 Islamic Games in Konya, Turkey.
Seventy-two Commonwealth Nations including the Gambia would be participating in the 280 events in 20 sports.
Meanwhile, The Islamic Solidarity Games is a multinational, multi-sport event.
The Games involved the elite athletes of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation who compete in a variety of sports.
The Solidarity Games were initially created to strengthen Islamic camaraderie and reinforce the values of Islam, primarily to the youth.