The July 22nd Marathon Organising Committee has revealed that there will be a Paralympics marathon of 21 kilometers in which 5 athletes are expected to take part.
In a press briefing held at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, Sulayman Colley, President of The Gambia Paralympics Association, explained that categorising the marathon will give the 5 young men a better chance to showcase their talents.
“There was little chaos in last year’s marathon when Demba Jarju was crowned winner after competing with the able bodied, when the able bodied athletes were expecting him to compete in a different category, for he was on a bike,” he said.
Colley is however hoping to register Demba in the 46 kilometers (from Kuloro to Banjul) with the justification that the champion isn’t satisfied with taking part in the 21 kilometers race. “The training and competition will help him in his preparation towards the upcoming Paralympics in Brazil for he doesn’t have enough funds to be at the camp early.”
The association president went on to state that the July 22nd Marathon is not a cheap opportunity, while challenging the 5 athletes to give their best and deliver to expectation. “The President of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia put our interest at heart and is doing all he can to change our status; so it is our responsibility to return the gesture by taking part in national events,” he remarked.
This competition, he noted, would be a chance for them to show the world that they can also make an impact.
by Saffiatou Colley &Hadang Daffeh