Gambian swimmer Modou Lamin Saine is hoping his rigorous training programs at Dakar’s High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) will pay off and it’ll propel him to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
In March, he was awarded scholarship by the Federation International De Natation (FINA) to train for a year at the prestigious HPTC in preparation for the olympics.
“The training programs here are very good,” Saine tells The Chronicle in Dakar. “It has always been my dream to achieve something big in swimming when I represent The Gambia.”
The 19-year-old is currently the Gambia’s 50m butterfly and freestyle champion. The energetic Bakau-born was the only Gambian Swimmer at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Before that, he represented the country at various international swimming championships, including the World Swimming Championship in Kazan, Russia in 2015.
“We have so many good young swimmers training here, but I’ve persisted by telling myself that I will make a breakthrough. Olympic Solidarity has allowed me to follow my dream.”
The Gambia made its olympic debut in swimming in 2016 in Rio Janeiro through wild-card qualification and Modou Lamin Saine is hoping to be the first Gambian swimmer to meet the olympic qualifying time of 22.01 seconds in the 50m Freestyle to Tokyo 2020.
Wild cards are added to a strict qualification system to encourage greater sports participation worldwide
However, Saine’s search for the required qualification time starts in July at the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, and for now, that’s his main focus.
Meanwhile, another Gambian swimmer who’s training at the FINA High Performance Training Center in Dakar is Ebrima Sorrie Buwaro. The 16-year-old is also hoping for a career breakthrough at the centre. “Since I arrived here, our coaches have been so supportive and they’re giving us the good training methods,” Buwaro tells The Chronicle.
“Before the end of my one-year training here, I hope to develop in speed and technique.”
The freestyle and butterfly swimmer commended The Gambia Swimming Association for recommending him to train at the centre.
The HPTC, supervised by FINA, provides aquatic athletes from different countries with training opportunities for competitions such as the world championships and Olympic Games.