By Lamin Drammeh, Alkamba Times Sports Editor
Following her magical run to the women’s 100 & 200 metres semifinals at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo last month, Gambia’s best sprinter and one of Africa’s fastest runners in the 200 metre race, Gina Bass and fellow athlete Ebrima Camara returned home to a tumultuous welcome by Gambians of all walks of life who gathered at the nation’s airport to receive the duo with excitement.
Gina and Camara’s performance significantly upgraded the country’s Olympic performance taking the Gambia to the semifinals for the first time in the track and field events.
The Tokyo 2020 games have been incredibly historic for Gina Bass whose tremendous resilience has made her the country’s most popular athlete with a glowing record that continues to grow in the aftermath of her exceptional Olympic success at the delayed games hosted by Japan.
The 26-year-old athletic sensation set a new national record of 11.12 seconds in the 100 metre event in Tokyo setting the clock as the Gambia fastest woman and athlete.
Considered the best Gambian sprinter of-all-time, Gina’s hopes of winning her first Olympic gold medal got dashed after she failed to make it to the finals but a shining performance amidst some of the best in the world showed she has all it takes to grab a medal.
However, her effort was good enough to earn her immense national recognition. She was handed a brand new car as a token of appreciation by the Gambian leader, President Adama Barrow. The lord mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council Talib Ahmad Bensouda, also awarded each of the athletes (Gina Bass & Ebrima Camara) a sum of D250.000.00 in recognition of their remarkable participation at the 2020 Tokyo games.
The industrious Gina represented the Gambia in a series of high-profiled international athletics championships around the world: This includes her participation at the international Athletics Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan where she won the Gambia its first gold medal in 2017.
Gina currently holds a national record in the 100 & 200 metres run and is widely considered the most decorated sprinter in Gambia’s history.
She was a bronze medalist at the African women’s athletics championship held in Durban in 2016 and also represented the Gambia at the 2016 summer Olympic games that took place in Rio de Jenerio, Brazil where she was chosen as the country’s flag bearer.
She was placed no. 52 in the 200 metre world athletics rankings during the Rio olympics.
Gina’s remarkable efforts in international games was rewarded with the female athlete of the year award by the sports journalists association of the Gambia. She was conferred the prestigious SJAG award along with fellow athlete Adama Jammeh.
Mr. Jammeh was also a member of the Gambian team to the Rio games in 2016 but could not make it to the 2020 Olympics. Adama also represented the Gambia at the world athletics championship in Beijing, China and African athletics championship in Durban.
A massive role model for aspiring athletes hoping to compete in the world’s top sprinting events, Gina Bass is also a decorated police inspector whose inspirational performances continue to put Gambian athletics on a high international pedestal.