By Ousman Saidykhan
The Lord Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), Talib Ahmed Bensouda and partners presented Gambian Olympians, Gina Bass and Ebrima Camara with the “keys to the City” and two cheques of D250,000 each.
The cheques and awards were jointly funded by the KMC Mayor, Talib Ahmed Bensouda, Trust Bank Limited, Africell and MFH group as a token of appreciation for their performances in the recently concluded Olympics.
The presentation ceremony was held on Friday, 3rd September 2021 at the KMC Offices and aims to promote sports within the Municipality.
According to Mayor Bensouda, the initiative was inspired by a derogatory video he watched on TIK-TOK (a video-sharing focused social networking service) portraying Gina Bass as the “poorest Olympian”.
“I really felt sad when I saw the video and said, look, it is very true whenever we talk about sports, whenever we talk about things like that, the only thing you think about is football, especially our sports committee chairperson. He is always talking about how do we sponsor football but we often forget about all these other sports in our various communities… and you know youth, their interests are very diverse and athletics is what we often ignore…I think Gina has really paved the way and Ebrima of course,” Mayor Bensouda said at the presentation.
Referencing the Council’s vision to diversifying their investment in sports Mayor Bensouda said “I understand, as we speak right now the only area athletes can train and prepare themselves is the Independent Stadium, and I think is not enough. We must think about having facilities in communities such as Talinding, where Gina Bass originates from or Bundung, where Ebrima Camara originates from. And I think as a country- as a whole, we should invest more in these things”.
The representative from Trust Bank Limited, Yusupha Gomez, said their Bank was “really honoured by the Lord Mayor’s initiative in motivating and supporting the youth of the Gambia and it is also a motivation for other youth.”
Gambian Olympians, Gina and Ebrima took the opportunity to thank the Lord Mayor and his partners for the initiative.
Ebrima Camara said they were happy to have been recognized and presented with the cheques and the awards. “It has never happened. This is the first time and we hope it will continue. Like they say, KMC has been employing many athletes since the Lord Mayor came to office. Thank you for that, Camara said. Gambia’s track queen, Gina Bass also made similar remarks.
Gina Bass, Ebrima Camara and Ebrima Sorrie Buaro returned home in August from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. After their arrival, the president of the Gambia, His Excellency, Adama Barrow presented a new car to Gina while giving five-hundred thousand dalasis to the team as encouragement.