By Yankuba Jallow
Sulayman Bah alias Boy Melah -the Head Coach of the Gambia national wrestling team has on Saturday 7th July 2018 unveiled his team for the ECOWAS Traditional Wrestling Championship Niger 2018.
The wrestlers are; Soldaru Bai For 66kg, Petty Alma For 76kg, Move Up Soldier for 86kg (Team Captain), Arobass for 100kg and Sai Sai for 120kg. The delegation includes Mr. Abdoulie Bojang Desk Officer for Wrestling at the National Sports Council as the Head of the Delegation, Miss Mama Faal the Assistant Secretary of the Gambia Wrestling Association, Miss Amie Secka as Team Medic and Sulayman Bah as Head Coach of the Team.
Coach Bah has made two changes to the team that represented the country in the last edition of the Championship held in Dakar Senegal; Soldaru Bai and Petty Alma were replaced by Boy London and Sachess respectively. Coach Bah adduced that Boy London won bronze in the 66kg while Sachess won gold in the 76kg. Bah said the decision to exclude them wasn’t easy for him but as a coach he needed to do that. He narrated that Boy London since they came back from Senegal last year, he has not been competing adding that Soldaru Bai performed well during the just concluded National Wrestling Championship and he (Soldaru Bai) represented the Gambia two years ago in Niger where he was among the best performers for the team. For Sachess, Coach Bah explained that he has won gold and has been competing since returning from Dakar. He expressed his desire to take him but his problem is his weight which has increased by 12kg from 76kg to 88kg, and it’s impossible for him to be able to get rid of 12kgs in this short time. Hence he decided to go for Petty Alma who won a Silver Medal for the Central River Region (CRR) at the National Championship
The team is set to leave the Banjul International Airport for Niger in the early hours of Monday 9 July, 2018 with the competition set to kick start on Friday 13 July and end on Sunday the 15 July and fly back to Banjul on Monday 16 July, 2018.
The Gambia has never won the ECOWAS Championships before with her best results coming in the group and individual categories in 2011 and 2017. The Gambia finished third in 2011 in the group category beating Nigeria to win the Bronze medal and last year the team won Four Medals in the Individual Categories; a Gold, two Silver and a Bronze Medal in the 76kg, 100kg and 120 and 66kg respectively. Coach Bah and team will be hoping to break the dominance of Senegal and Niger who have been winning the tournament since its inception.