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Aftermath of Commonwealth Youth Games disappointment…

Salone young quartet undergoes athletics in Jersey 

June 20, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.

Four Sierra Leonean youngsters – Hawa Bundor, Fatima Sesay, Alhaji Jam and Julius Morray – are already in the Island of Jersey to undergo training session.

The quartet were invited to the Crown dependency of the United Kingdom, which is located off Normandy and France, for high level training session as compensation for last year’s disappointment when they were denied visas to compete in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

According to the Sierra Leone Games chef d’ mission, Unisa Deen Kargbo: “Last year these athletes were denied visas for the youth commonwealth games because of the Ebola. Now they have been compensated with training opportunity in Jersey. The team arrived on Friday with four athletes; two male and two female.”

The Commonwealth Youth Games was hosted in Samoa in September 2015 and Sierra Leone was not allowed to compete in the Games after the Samoan Government refused to give them visas because of the Ebola crisis in the African country.

Although the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive David Grevemberg claimed the organisation had done all it could to convince the Samoan Government to change their mind, they were unsuccessful, despite appealing directly to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi.

The decision of the Samoan government prompted protest from delegates from Ghana who proposed sanctions against the South Pacific country as punishment.

However, Prince Imran, the then outgoing President of the CGF, claimed it would be unfair to take action against the Samoa Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee for a decision taken by its Government.

“You must have some sympathy for them,” Prince Imran told delegates during the Games. “To sanction them because the Government did something to protect their country would be a bit tough.”

Sierra Leone was due to send a team of seven athletes to the Youth Games. The country got similar disappointment in 2014, when they were also unable to compete in the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, also because of the Ebola outbreak issue.

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