Togo Stage Ghana Champs

Whither Ghana Sports?

Last Tuesday, we had the unpleasant occasion to lament the relocation of the revived National Athletic Championship to Togo because there was no suitable arena in Ghana today to host the Championships.

It is a crying shame counting the cost of such sporting venture to the nation - busing athletes, officials and journalists out for the four-day championship.

However, it has been a lot beneficial to the athletes and officials in their preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Melbourne (Australian) next month and the All Africa Games in Mauritius in August, albeit the murmurs by some athletes over cheating in payment of allowances.

Indeed, there can be no doubting the relief of the Chairman of the Ghana Athletic Association, Sandy Osei Agyemang, at the end of the championship in Lome: “This is what we have been waiting for all this while; the athletes have performed above average and it is an indication that given the right facilities they will show great exploits”.

Nothing is further from the truth that lack of facilities has been the major bane of Ghana Sports, with disciplines like athletics and boxing suffering as a result.

Yet, strangely enough national attention has been lukewarm to the need to rescue the situation. Not even football, the acclaimed passion of the nation, is endowed in the provision of facilities.

Ghana football’s top teams are also being bugged by the lack-of-facilities syndrome because officials at Obuasi Len Clay are saying the venue may not be ready to host the CAF matches to be played there by Asante Kotoko, Hearts of Oak and King Faisal.

The shame of it is that this situation has arisen simply because the Accra and Kumasi stadia are undergoing face-lifts in readiness for CAN 2008. Should our football world come to a halt anytime the Accra and Kumasi stadia are to be rehabilitated?

We do not want to belabour this point, but does it mean we had not anticipated this to prepare well ahead of time? As for Hearts and Kotoko they must be doubly ashamed of themselves for not applying their huge influence in Ghana football to positive achievements as acquisition of their own modest arenas.

Nevertheless, the situation needs to be salvaged. And on that score we would like to appeal to the Ministry of Sports to come in and assist the authorities at Len Clay to bring the venue to the standard required by CAF

Accra, Feb. 23, GNA - There were no new records at this year’s national athletics championships held in Lome, Togo, as a de-motivated athletes failed to even equal existing ones.

The races were less competitive and unimpressive as both officials and athletes alike came out to justify the failure.

Some athletes told the GNA Sports that there was no point in striving for honours after five local athletes were selected for the Commonwealth Games in Australia before the trials commenced on Tuesday. Clement Agyeman (200 and 100 meters) of Georgina Sowah (Long jump) and Robert Martey (long jump), all from CEPS and Gifty Addy (100 and 200) of Immigration and Elizabeth Amelofo (100 and 200) of Police were hand-picked by the technical men because of their previous performances. But apart from Sowah who failed to glitter, the other four vindicated the selectors as they dominated their events.

The athletes attributed the rather abysmal performance to a paltry 40,00 cedis allowance each given to them by the officials for the three-day period.

But the officials told the GNA Sports that they could not be blamed for the flaws and attributed the ebb to the long spell of inactivity.

Sequel to this, the GAA has revived its selection process towards the All Africa Games in Mauritius in August and other future competitions.

The GAA earlier said winners in each event and their first runner ups would form the nucleus of “team Ghana” and would compete with the foreign-based athletes classified under category B in June for the final selection.

But after the rather unimpressive outing, the GAA said a team of technical men including Dr Pufa, Board Chairman of the National Sports Council, would compare the “times” clocked by the local athletes with the African record and then take a final decision as to whether the locals merit a call-up.

GNA (FROM: Daniel Kenu, GNA Special correspondent in Lome, Togo)

Accra, Feb. 24, GNA - Athletics chiefs in the country are putting in place a contingency plan to mentor Elizabeth Amelofo of the Ghana Police Service and the current sprint queen in the 100, 200 and 400-meter events to takeover from Ghana’s ace heptathlete Margaret Simpson within two years.

The tall athlete, who also competes in long jump, was one of the five local athletes selected before the trials in Lome, Togo, but she would need to master three other field events to qualify for the seven-discipline heptathlon.

After dominating her four preferred events, she also anchored the police team in the 4 by 100 relay race to win silver albeit after a shaky start.

The coaches’ view was corroborated by Dr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, Director of Sports Development at the Ministry of Education and Sports who said with her height and technique, “just a little bit of push could make her one of the best on the continent.”

Currently, Simpson is the only heptathlete in the country. She together with long jumper Ignatius Gaisah gave Ghana her first-ever medal at the World Athletics meet in Helsinki, Finland last year. She won bronze while Gaisah was a silver medalist.