Senegal : a new iconic sport arena for the edges

After Senegal ranked as the best African team in Russia's 2018 World Cup, the country now aims at developing world class sport facility with the aid of China. © RR

Casablanca, (ADV) – Standing majestically in a once abandoned patch of marshland on the eastern edge of the Senegalese capital, the National Wrestling Arena is an attraction for both visitors and locals.

The new giant facility, built by the Sixth Engineering Company Limited of China’s Hunan Construction Engineering Group (HNCEG) in Dakar, was officially handed over to local authorities on Sunday.

At the handover ceremony, visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping passed the “golden key” of the project to his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall, and the two leaders enjoyed a show of traditional Senegalese wrestling.

The project was described as a mirage when it began in April 2016, with significant difficulties standing in the way, including hostile terrain and weather, skill gaps and unavailability of quality construction materials like steel rods.

“Draining the marshlands during the rainy season was a Herculean task. The foundation had to be constructed afresh on several occasions after collapsing due to heavy rains,” said Li Zhao, a supervisor with HNCEG.

Delivering construction materials to the marshland was also difficult, Li said, adding that Chinese technicians also grappled with language barriers and cultural conflicts.

Amadou Cisse, a 53-year-old local technician who participated in the project, said without China’s advanced technology and skills, it would be impossible for the arena to open to the public on time.

“I am very impressed by the fact that the Chinese are very generous to impart technical knowledge to us. At least, now we have a modern facility where our wrestling giants will prove their mettle,” Cisse said.

© Bur-csa – ADV