By Landing Ceesay
Gambian Olympic stars Gina Bass and Ebrima Camara have each received D250, 000 cheque from the Kanifing Municipal Council [KMC] today.
The donation, according to the Mayor, is motivated by a video recording he watched on social media featuring Olympian Gina Bass as the poorest athlete representing a country at the just concluded 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan.
“I was on a Tik Tok and I saw a video of Gina Bass, Gambia’s poorest athlete. The video was about Gina Bass when she talks about how she is the poorest athlete representing a country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan. I felt sad when I saw the video and said it is very true whenever we talk about sports and things like that the only thing we pay attention to is football. We know youths their interests are very diverse and athletic is something we often ignored and Gina Bass and Ebrima pave the way. I believe that these two (Gina Bass and Ebrima Camara) will win Gambia’s first gold medal in the Olympic games to pave the way for the young ones coming up,” Mayor Bensouda said.
Mayor Bensouda added that the award, as part of the KMC’s drive-in empowering young people within the region, is meant to boost the morale of young people in the areas of sport.
“This event is very special. I did not know whether it would have been possible, because it was just us trying a chance to see how we can help our athletics. But we were overwhelmed and surprised by the response of our partners, which are Africell, Trust Bank Limited and the MFH group,” Bensouda said.
Speaking on behalf of the two athletes [Gina Bass and Ebrima Camara], Babucarr Sey, said such donations would pave the way for the younger ones to work hard.
He said the Gambia is blessed with talents, but it is unfortunate that everyone focuses on football.
“I am sure with the recent achievements done in Tokyo, Japan and other games under the leadership of Adama Jammeh [the athletic team captain], the focus will be a shift to athletics, not only football. We know the government alone cannot do it. That is why we need stakeholders to come together and help us; because athletics is very expensive. These athletes have to go to a camp where they will stay the whole year to prepare for another Olympic Games. You cannot imagine the amount of money that needs to be pumped on them to be fully equipped,” Sey said.
The two athletes, who also originated from the region, were also presented with keys to the city in recognition of their efforts for raising the Gambian flag higher in the Tokyo Olympics.
Each of them was presented a cheque of Two hundred and fifty thousand dalasi (D250, 000, given the total sum of D500, 000.
The sum was raised by the council in partnership with corporate bodies such as Africell, Trust Bank Limited and MFH group.