By: Alieu Ceesay
The governor of the Upper River Region (URR), Omar Sampo Ceesay has described wrestling as one of the oldest cultural sports in the country that should be promoted like any other sporting discipline.
Governor Ceesay was speaking to Observer Sports Monday evening at the Basse Mini-Stadium where hundreds gathered to watch the regional championship to select the five qualifiers that will represent the region at the National Wrestling Championship slated for next month.
According to him, wrestling is a sport that is well known in URR, noting that the regional event is very much important for his people in the revitalisations of the game in the country. “This is why we have all gathered here today to support the effort and wished His Excellency the president for the noble initiative to revitalise this popular sport,” he added.
While thanking all the hierarchy and the people of URR for gracing the occasion, Governor Ceesay said he is very much confident that URR will come out victorious at the national championship. “Our wrestlers are young and talented, we will give them our moral support,” he told our reporter.
Habibou Nyassi, secretary general of The Gambia Wrestling Federation expressed satisfaction at what he has seen on the ground, applauding the people for the large turnout. He encouraged the local authorities to give more support to the five wrestlers by ensuring that they train hard.
Abdoulie Bojang, desk officer for wrestling at the National Sports Council described wrestling as a traditional sport that everyone needs to promote, noting that The Gambian leader has taken the lead in the promotion and revitalisations of the sport.
According to him, the promotion is based on the free style commonly called ‘mbapat. Ablo thanked the minister of Youth and Sports Alieu Kebba Jammeh for the leadership role he took in pushing the agenda of President Jammeh.
Also speaking to Observer Sports in Basse, Omar Touray, president of the Boxing Wrestling who is also part of the tour delegation told our reporter that he was equally impressed at the large turnout and the ambience.
While applauding the initiative of promoting the free style ‘mbapat’, Touray added that no one can be a boxing wrestler without going through the style. He finally encouraged the youths to take up wrestling seriously, but was quick to advocate for peace in sports.
Alhaji Hammeh Minteh Krubally, chief of Basse also welcomed the initiative of the revtilisation of the sport. “I can’t remember when last did I watch such wrestling [at regional level] and I urged the authorities to be organising such frequently,” an elated looking chief told Observer Sports.
Twenty three wrestlers took part in the competition in the different categories and the five qualified to represent the region in the February national championship are: Visa 60 kilos; Roder 76 kilos; Forest 86 kilos; Marlborough 100 kilos and Samfa Jallow 120 kilos.
Speaking to our reporter, all five wrestlers looked confident and assured that they will work hard to win the championship for the region.
Meanwhile the tour delegation spearheading the regional championship comprising officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and The Gambia Wrestling Federation will be heading to the Central River Region today, Wednesday.