By: Dawda Baldeh
28-year-old Gambian judoka Faye Njie, who made history as the first Gambian athlete to ever win a silver medal at the Commonwealth a few months ago in Birmingham, is calling on the government, NGOs, philanthropist to support him to cover his traveling cost as the 2024 World Judo Championship gets closer.
Since 2015, Njie has been representing Gambia in several international judo competitions.
The silver medal winner confirmed to The Fatu Network that he is only relying on the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship which helped him to be integrated into France to be a full-time athlete.
“I’m grateful for that opportunity as it’s vital to be a full-time athlete at this level. The qualification for Paris 2024 Judo Championship lasts for 24 months and includes a lot of qualifying tournaments all over the world.
Traveling to these events costs quite a lot of money. My scholarship is meant to cover my living and training costs in France. Any support towards traveling to these qualifying events as well as to some international training camps is needed,” he emphasized.
It appears that the Judoka has not received any support from the Gambian authorities despite representing the country.
Recently, Njie took part in Baku Grand Slam Tournament in Azerbaijan and lost his first-round fight against his Belgian counterpart.
“I lost my first-round fight against my Belgian opponent. He was able to get a score at the end of the fight. Eventually, he won the bronze at that tournament. In my category, there were 36 athletes from 23 countries,” he explained.
Despite losing the fight, Njie said the overall performance was “not that bad.”
“I just made a critical mistake at the end of the contest which concluded the fight. Of course, I’m disappointed as I was expecting a better result, but at this level, mistakes can be unforgivable.
I should have been more aggressive to be able to get my attempts to score and prepared well my attacks. I will focus on getting rid of my weaknesses in order to get some versatility to my fighting,” he added.
The Gambian judoka assured that he will continue to work hard for his long-term goals which are to qualify for the 2024 Olympics and make the best performance of his career.