By Sulayman Bah
Gina Bass is turning heads for all the right reasons at the ongoing Commonwealth Games.
The 22-year-old is reveling where her male national team counterparts have failed spectacularly.
The first to win Gambia a gold and silver in the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku Azerbaijan, Gina’s current ascension came as little surprise.
Her performances in the build-up to the events in Australia were quite noticeable.
As a result, when the squad heading to Queensland was unveiled, her inclusion was on grounds of merit.
Suwaibou Sanneh –now based in the US –was Gambia’s heartbeat in athletics. Adama Jammeh, current national team captain, has been tipped to take over the baton. While the Prisons Department athlete’s outings are commendable, he’s however yet to rise up to the occasion giving, a then little known Gina, the room to blossom. Burden of pressure comes with being Gambia’s star attraction in the athletics team and, by turn of events, she’d marshalled it with a kind of alacrity rare to find.
Bass headlined the Gambian team in the opening stages of the 100m category in an event virtually all her male compatriots crashed out. Sprinting with an impressive 11.50 seconds, the country’s track queen came second in the first round earning her an automatic qualification with the standard timing to the semi-finals.
Her luck bag deflated in this stage , coming third on 11.64 seconds, just one place shy of reaching the women’s 100m finals.
These exploits alone will make enough feathers on a cap. But for her passion which morphed in an obsession, Gina longs to reach the big times. She is already on path to attaining that after storming to the semi-finals of the women’s 200m race yesterday.
Epitome of form being temporary and class being permanent, Bass, bashed her way albeit with what looked like relative ease, to the semi-finals clocking along a jaw-dropping 23.24 seconds on third position.
Ola Buwaro, the other female in Gambia’s athletic team, a first-timer and a footballer-turned sprinter, finished bottom-place in the first round hurdle.
Gambia’s ambition for a possible medal prize in the Commonwealth Games would have by now faded into oblivion. But thanks to a 22-year-old Gina there remains at least a glimmer of hope for the West African nation.
The quick-feeted rampaging track sensation will be out today again eyeing to hug the back pages in the women’s 200m semis at 8:10 am.
Her competitors will be the likes of Amy Foster of Ireland, Botswana’s Loungo Matlahku, Dina Asher-Smith of England, Jamaica’ Shericka Jackson, Semoy of Tridinad and Tobago and Maddies Coastes from the hosts Australia.
There will be no Gambian representation in the men’s 200 semi-finals.