By Kebba Secka
The Executive Director of National Sports Council (NYC), Marcel Mendy, said the suspension of inter-schools annual athletic competition by the government is seen as an unfair treatment since other social and political gatherings are held amid the existence of coronavirus.
He made the disclosure on Monday 1st February, 2021, before the National Assembly Select Committee on Youth and Sports chaired by Alagie Darboe, Member for Brikama South.
Mendy said following a meeting between youth ministry and that of basic and secondary education, it was agreed to allow inter-schools sporting activities to proceed in line with the health safety guidelines. However, he said later on, their decision was revoked by the Office of the President which held that schools sporting activities should be suspended.
He said: “After our meeting, there were other meetings at higher level that I was not privy to attend. It was in those meetings the decision to postpone or suspend inter-schools’ athletic competition was upheld. He read out a letter written to the permanent secretary Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education dated 27th January, 2021 and signed by one Lamin E. Kanyi on behalf of the Secretary General. He said the letter is entitled: “Temporal Suspension of Sports in Schools.”
According to Mendy, the council debated about the suspension of schools’ sports and majority of them were of the view that it should be allowed to proceed. Notwithstanding, the council said they would never lose sight of the unfair treatment if political gatherings and social activities continued to take place and not suspended or restricted.
Mendy said the conclusion of the council was that if school going children are allowed to interact in sporting activities at school level in observance of health safety measures, they see no reason why inter schools’ athletic competition cannot be allowed to proceed.
“Of course, we’re concerned, we do not want to be a catalyst of the spread of the virus in the schools, but these are some of the issues we looked at and said ‘if we suspend the competition, we may be challenged and we would not be able to defend our position,” NYC executive director told the committee.
He revealed that the decision to suspend school sporting activities was made known to him informally through one Mr Jammeh, the Secretary General of the Inter-schools’ Sports Committee.
Meanwhile, the principal objective of their presence before the aforesaid committee could not be achieved since the council could not present its 2018 and 2019 activity reports due to the absence of the board chairman, who was said to be bereaved at a time when he was about to come to the national assembly.
They’ll be called on a later date to present. Revelations about the suspension of the Inter-schools’ Sports Athletic Competition came following a question the committee chairman asked which he described out of curiosity.