The Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) wishes to express its disappointment in the publication of the article captioned “Gambian Athletes in Kenya Disenchanted with GNOC”, in your Point Newspaper edition of 18 October 2007.
Considering that you disregarded to uphold a simple journalistic virtue of cross checking your stories, particularly in the case of Ansu Sowe, please allow us to place the issues raised in its right perspective.
First, the GNOC serves as an operational link between National Sports Associations, the IOC and other International Organisations and not a Sporting Association for clubs and individual athletes. Athletes belong to clubs,‘ and their training and performance assessment are coordinated and supervised by their respective clubs. To support these clubs, GNOC as a representative of IOC in the Gambia can solicit for scholarships and funding for athletes through the Olympic Solidarity.
Secondly, Ansu Sowe and Bakary Jabbi were awarded athletic scholarships on the request of the Gambia Athletic Association which is the affiliated body under the GNOC. The terms and conditions of the scholarship were spelt out in a contract which was signed by both Sowe and Jabbi with the Gambia Athletic Association (GAA). Olympic Scholarships are uniform and equally follow the same standards and therefore affect athletes all over the Olympic Family. It is evident that the Gambian athletes are benefiting for the same reasons other athletes were sent to Kenya.
Thirdly, Ansu Sowe has not spoken to me or any staff member of GNOC regarding his training in Kenya. The GNOC is not responsible to monitor the living conditions and training modes while athletes are undergoing training. This is the primary responsibility of the Associations. Ansu is on an International scholarship with conditions that are similarly applicable to all athletes. If he had any concerns regarding his training, he should have raised them with the GAA.
Finally, Ansu should endeavour to concentrate on his preparations and training for the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 and stop the unnecessary bickering. GNOC is very focused in its aspiration to see our Gambian athletes succeed in their bid to participate fully in world events as important as the Olympic Games.
With best regards
Signed: George F. Gomez