Senegal’s top surfer wants a fighting chance to compete at the Olympics

Category: Sports


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. qualifier / ˈkwɒl əˌfaɪ ər / (n.) – a person or group that has won a round in a competition, allowing them to proceed to the next round

    Only the winners from each city will be chosen as qualifiers for the national championship.

  2. wistfully / ˈwɪst fə li / (adv.) – in a way that expresses feelings of sadness about something in the past or something that someone wants to have but cannot

    As she looked at the old family photos, she smiled wistfully, remembering her childhood.

  3. secure / sɪˈkyʊər / (v.) – to get something, usually using effort to do so

    The company managed to secure a new deal with a major client.

  4. immense / ɪˈmɛns / (adj.) – very great in size, amount, or degree

    The team’s hard work and dedication resulted in immense success during the project presentation.

  5. visibility / ˌvɪz əˈbɪl ɪ ti / (n.) – the extent to which someone or something is known, recognized, or noticed by the public or a specific audience

    The politician attended various public events to improve his visibility in the community.


Read the text below.

Senegalese surfers raise doubts about the future of surfing in Africa amidst no qualifiers for the Paris Olympics 2024, low funding, and out-of-reach visas.

Instead of training in the waves of his Senegal homeland, Chérif Fall wistfully preferred to be in Puerto Rico, where the last surfing qualifying competition for the Paris Olympics ended on March 2. Senegal had nobody there to try and claim the last 14 spots for men and women.

Senegal is on the westernmost tip of Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, and surfing is part of daily life for many, with easy access to good waves including in the capital, Dakar. Yet, once athletes reach a certain level, it’s hard to go further. Travel to compete abroad is expensive, visas can be hard to secure, and there is little government investment, say those in the sport.

Even with financial backing from a huge sponsor, 27-year-old Fall still can’t afford proper coaching and doesn’t enter enough competitions to earn points to help his global ranking.

Surfers and coaches in Senegal say the athletes have immense potential but the sport needs more investment in training facilities, equipment, and coaching. To compete on the world stage, the surfers say they need the basics such as a daily training environment with a knowledgeable coach and quality equipment.

Souley Mbengué, the Secretary-General of the Senegalese Surf Federation, said they were going to “rise to the challenges of 2026, the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Senegal. […] We have put in place a program based on training, and above all what will enable us to perform well when the time comes.”

In an attempt to get surfers on the continent more visibility, for the first time, the African Surfing Federation is launching a surf tour. Starting in April, there will be six competitions beginning in Ghana and ending in Senegal in December.

Oumar Seye, the African Surfing Federation President who’s spearheading the initiative, says it’s a chance for athletes to make money, find sponsors, and get valuable ranking points. He adds sponsors in Europe and Africa have expressed interest in funding the event.

This article was provided by The Associated Press. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • What do you think are the characteristics of an internationally successful athlete (ex. has immense potential, financially supported)? Why do you think these characteristics would lead to an athlete’s success? Discuss.
  • How important is government support in sports, especially in competing on the world stage? Do you think that athletes can succeed internationally without it? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you believe that sports, especially in competing internationally, is something that countries should invest in? Why or why not? How do you think investing in sports can benefit a country? Discuss.
  • What is the current situation of sports in your country? Do you think that sports is something that your country values? How can you say so? Discuss.