By Sulayman Bah
Gambia Wrestling Association yesterday admitted wrestler PapaPapa Sowe
Sowe’s revelation that wrestlers were starved to drop weight in an
effort to meet outlined Ecowas categories.
Kotu Quarry Mbolloh’s Papa Sowe, a member of Gambia five-man selected
national team, went public for the first time. He disclosed the gruellingexercise the squad was put through including self-deprivation of food
for lengthy hours.
The thing was forced onto wrestlers as last resort tactic to drop
weight with the regional competition sprinting fast toward
commencement. Such deployed procedure, in Sowe’s own words, ‘hampered
the team’s performance including lack of support’.
Reached for reaction, the country’s wrestling governing body
Secretary General Habibou Nyassi said starving wrestlers is an
uncommon practice even in other countries.
‘Ecowas have their regulations and categories. So often weight
fluctuates, ff a wrestler is booked for 66kg for instance, and he
surpasses it, he will have to shed it and the quickest way to that is
abstaining from eating until a certain time. Others too do it. But in
totality, it was hard luck performance and we must take it,’ Nyassi
told Foroyaa Sport yesterday.
Sowe’s comments were met with shock giving the duration they had to go
without food but Nyassi insist the practice is uncommon.
Gambia finished fourth behind hosts Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea
Conakry, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone,
Ghana and Burkina Faso.