The month-long swimming project dubbed ‘Swim for life’ Gambia project on Sunday came to end at the Friendship Hostel Swimming Pool after a successful swimming training for children.
The project was pioneered by the Gambia Press Union (GPU) through their partners The Gambia Media Support (GAMES) in collaboration with the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG), the Red Dolphins and Life Guard Association and the Gambia Swimming Association.
The project, which was aimed at saving Gambian children from the risk of drowning at sea also served as a platform to introduce swimming as a sport to the young ones with a view to having some of them take up swimming as a career.
Speaking at the highly attended graduation ceremony, Musa Sise, President of Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia, said the Association aims to promote and support sports and is ready to stand by anything that is going to bring about progress and development in any sport that is initiated in the country.
The SJAG, he said was quite happy to partner in the project and is looking forward to seeing the trained children to be good swimmers in the future when given further training and guided on what swimming is all about. He calls on the public, particularly the parents, to support the children. “Sport is a life-changer, a profession that gives one anything he or she wants in this world,” said the SJAG boss.
Saikou Jammeh, the Secretary General of GPU said the Press Union was very pleased to have initiated the project.
He thanked parents for allowing their children to participate in the training and thanked partners for having the training successfully implemented. He was hopeful of many more projects in the near future.
Sang Mendy, acting Executive Director of GPU was quite a happy man seeing the month-long project successfully implemented. He thanked all those that partnered in the project and to those parents that allowed their children participate in the training programme.
While expressing concern at the increasing number of children that lose their lives at sea as a result of the inability to swim, Mendy calls for more funding and support to have similar training programmes to train more children.
Jainaba Jallow of Red Dolphins Lives Guards Association said the lives that continue to be lost at sea are increasing and worrying, thus the importance of the project cannot be over-emphasised.
She calls on Gambians to support such initiatives to save the lives of innocent children and was hopeful that more of such projects will be implemented.
Noel Djatchi, swimming coach, was quite proud to coach the children on how to swim, noting that it is important for them to know how to swim. He equally calls on parents to encourage their children to learn how to swim under the guidance of a coach so as to reduce the cases of drowning.
Habibala Jeng of the Gambia Swimming Association said from henceforth no one should die at sea because the person cannot swim.
The graduation ceremony also witnessed participants demonstrate their swimming skills much to the delight of invited guests including representatives from the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Tourism and Culture; parents and members of the media.
Certificates were also awarded to all participants.
By Fatou Trawally