Modou Lamin Saine and Ebrima Sorrie Buwaro, The Gambia’s top two swimmers have been awarded scholarships by the Federation International De Natation (FINA) to train for one year at the FINA High Performance Center in Dakar, Senegal.
The scholarship program is in line with the World Aquatics body’s policy on Development and Universality for its member associations across the world.
Saine, 19 is currently Gambia’s 50m butterfly and freestyle champion. He was the only Gambian Swimmer at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Before that, he represented The Gambia at various International Swimming Championships, including the World Swimming Championship in Kazan, Russia in 2015.
Buwaro, also 19 is the winner of the recently concluded first organized Gambia Swimming Association Regional National Championship. The Tanji-born young swimmer is looking forward to making a difference to his career.
“I can’t wait to kick start the training. I am looking forward to meeting greater and well experienced coaches so that I can quickly adapt to new techniques and skills.”
The Vice President-Technical of the Swimming Association, Habiballah Jeng said Gambian swimmers have a huge disadvantage in terms of quality of training and preparation when competing in international events. They have to work twice as hard as foreign athletes from traditional sporting powerhouses to achieve a podium finish, Jeng told The Chronicle.
‘’I am happy that FINA is now considering giving out scholarships to swimmers to be trained by top swimming coaches. The center is a great place and I look forward to seeing great developments by our swimmers,” he said.
Both Modou Lamin Saine and Ebrima Sorrie Buwaro are expected to leave Banjul on Tuesday 19th March for Dakar.
FINA has over the years been reviewing the potential of swimmers across five continents with the aim of providing support to national Associations. The ultimate goal of the FINA scholarships programme is to identify, prepare and qualify a limited number of athletes aspiring to participate in the next FINA World Championships and Olympic Games.
Gambian Swimmers have over the years been travelling to neighboring Senegal to train when preparing for international competitions because The Gambia doesn’t have a 50m Olympic standard pool. Local swimmers have lately been using the QCity Swimming pool in Bijilo for training.
Pap Jonga is the first Gambia swimmer to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, making it Gambia’s first swimming Olympic participation.