By Momodou Ndow
We all watched Gina Bass compete on the world stage and beamed with pride, despite the limited resources in Gambian sports. With virtually everything in Gambia chaotic at the moment, Gina’s performance gave us something to all celebrate. We all wanted her to take the gold medal and give us that temporary fix as we continue to search for a ray of hope amid all the chaos!
Given her raw talent and tremendous effort to make it on the world stage, Gina’s potential is yet to be fully tapped into. There is more in her that needs to be unlocked. And in my humble opinion, a track and field scholarship to the United States would be her best bet. In sports, environment matters greatly, and is very crucial in your mental and physical training. The better and more nurturing the environment, the more you will exile.
Most colleges in the United States that are participating in the NAACA already have proven track and field programs in place, and what Gina needs is a “proven program” that will propel her to the next level, and I don’t think such program exists in The Gambia. Gina needs to be around athletes that are equally talented or better to motivate and challenge her on a daily basis, not athletes that she is better than by a mile.
The Jamaicans are known for running, but most of their runners come to the United States to attend college here and be part of the college track and field programs to enhance their skills. They go out and represent Jamaica from here and beat their American counterparts, they are in these programs with. This is also the case for runners from Trinidad and many other countries that have the raw talent, but doesn’t have a full fledged program to nurture and grow that talent.
Gambia is not ready yet and wouldn’t be for a while, given the chaos, so Gina’s best bet is to try to place herself in a much better sporting environment that will help her grow to realize her full potential. She can always represent Gambia around the world from here, just like the Jamaicans and everyone else. So for those who are in the college system in the United States, try and see how you can recommend Gina for a scholarship for her to finally have a chance to be in the right environment that will take her to the next level and bring us our Gold. Gambia is struggling to provide the most basic needs, and an environment that would allow Gina to reach her potential is a luxury beyond her reach as a country.