Concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus have caused the postponement of the Gambia Open Golf championship to 2021.
The tournament was set to take place at the Fajara Golf Course from May 24-29. However, in an interview with The Chronicle, Pa Jatta, an executive member of the Gambia Golf Association said it was no longer feasible to hold the event.
“Our priority is to make sure that we protect the safety and wellbeing of the players, officials and even fans,” said Jatta. “The event was very well planned as we’ve sent out all the invitations to various countries who had all accepted to participate. It’s a huge blow to us because this is the major golf event in the country.”
The Gambia Open is an international event generally regarded as the most prestigious golf competition in the country. Golfers from Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and other parts of Africa would assemble at the Fajara Golf Course for the week-long tournament to determine who would be the champion golfer.
While disappointed with the postponement, players like Lamin Sarr said he understood the measures being taken. “It wasn’t pleasant, I was very disappointed, but I couldn’t do anything about it because it’s a global pandemic.”
Sarr is a professional, Gambian golfer based in Sweden. He also teaches golf. He managed to travel to The Gambia for the championship before travel restrictions were enforced. “I was expecting to meet my fellow golfers from other countries,” Sarr tells The Chronicle. “I had confidence in myself that I would perform great because I had a very good practice back in Sweden. Even though I am a golf teacher, I am also actively playing the game at professional level. So I was very ready for this championship.”
Meanwhile, Pa Jatta is confident better days are ahead. “We will overcome this pandemic and golf will surely return at the Fajara Golf Course,” he tells The Chronicle. “We can’t help but just to hope and pray that it ends as soon as possible so that we can get back to do what we enjoy doing.”