July 26, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.
The first batch of Team Sierra Leone, dubbed as the ‘achievement squad’, delegation to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games left earlier Tuesday morning onboard Royal Air Maroc.
Members of the first batch include swimmers Bunturabie Jalloh and Osman Kamara, and home-based sprinter Ishmeal Dudu Kamara. Also included are swimming coaches Bobson Mansaray and Fanta Sesay, and athletics coach Joseph Lahai.
The two other members of the delegation include Chaperone Madam Pamela Williams and female journalist Magdaline Konneh.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leonean American-based athlete, Hafsatu Kamara, will travel from the U.S to join the team in Rio.
In a farewell media conference, President of the National Olympics Committee of Sierra Leone (NOC-SL), Dr. Patrick Cooker revealed that an advance party which include Chef de Mission Unisa Deen Kargbo and the team’s attaché and medical proxy Alhassan Kamara, were already in Rio.
“The advance party led by our chef de mission is already in Rio to make preparations for the team’s arrival,” Dr. Coker said and stressed on the essence of having a chaperone in the delegation.
He said: “This is an IOC regulation, for as long as you are traveling with female athletes you must have a chaperone. For some countries, depending on the number of their delegation, they can have more than four chaperones.”
Minister of Sports Ahmed Khanou advised the athletes that the Games are to show case humanity and pride, adding that it was a great opportunity for them to fly the tri-colours of Sierra Leone and make the nation proud.
He further revealed that the government was taking full responsibility of the team going to Rio, and went further to congratulate both the swimming and athletics associations for securing qualification to the games.
In total, Sierra Leone will send a 17-man delegation to this year’s games; the other batch includes the NOC-SL Pesident and his Secretary General, Joseph Nyande, Sports Minister and Assistant Director of Sports, Shamsu Mustapha, and two media representatives, Sahr Morris Jr. from the Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone and Abu Bakarr Kanu.