Athletics: Gambian sprint duo target track success in Baku
Sprinters Alieu Joof and Assan Faye are hoping to land Gambia's first-ever medals at an Islamic Solidarity Games when the fourth edition takes place in Baku.
The 100 and 200-metre specialists are looking for their first individual medals at any athletics event, and are also hoping to deliver for their country.
Gambia failed to win a medal in Saudi Arabia in 2005 and in Indonesia in 2013, and are pinning their hopes on their talented young sprint pair, who are confident of a major tournament breakthrough.
"We are expecting to have a fruitful competition," said 20-year-old 100-metre specialist Assan Faye, whose personal best stands at 10.51 seconds.
Faye, who will also compete in the 200-metre discipline in which his personal best is 21.41 seconds, is hoping to raise his profile in the Azeri capital.
"It's a medium of exposure. From here we can learn a lot and develop ourselves more from this experience," he said
Alieu Joof, 19 years old and competing in the 100, 200 and 4x100-metre men's relay, has a quicker personal best in the 200 metres than his compatriot Faye - 21.35 seconds - but he is slower in the shorter discipline.
"My country is expecting me to perform. I'm expecting to perform," Joof said.
Joof and his fellow sprinter Faye have been put through their paces by their coaches ahead of the athletics competition, which gets underway on May 16 with the men's 100-metre heats.
However, Joof feels that he and his compatriots need extra resources if The Gambia are to become a genuine force in athletics.
"They have supported us but we need more support in our country. We are not that strong in our country."
The athletics and para-athletics competition run from May 16-20 at the 70,000-seater Baku National Stadium.