Ghana may not be able to take their originally planned 17 sportsmen and women to the 12th Africa Games, set for Morocco.
Ghana won the bid to host the 13th Africa Games, which will follow the 2019 edition in Morocco. Yet all isn’t well with preparationss as some disciplines had to be dropped and the number of sportsmen and women to attend were reduced as the Ghana International Games & Competitions Committee claim there isn’t enough funds to take the full number of athletes.
When the IGCC met the press for the first time at the media center of the Accra Sports Stadium, they announced that Ghana is preparing for 17 out of the 22 disciplines to participate in the kingdom of Morocco, Rabat to be precise.
Ghana was to take part in athletics, badminton, beach volleyball, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling, fencing, football, weightlifting, judo, karate-do, swimming, taekwondo, table tennis, shooting, triathlon and tennis.
The chef du mission, Rev. R. Quarcoo told the media all athletes who will be attending the Games are selected by their respective federations based on their own selection criteria, however, their final list is subject to approval by the technical subcommittee of the IGCC.
He said there is no definite number for athletes, officials and disciplines to compete since the technical subcommittee is working on all the athletes who will be attending the Games.
“The number of officials are based on the team size calculator which will be based on the number of the final list of athletes who will be attending the Games,” he said.
Dr. Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, special advisor to the Minister of Youth & Sports said the organizers of international games now place high premium on winning and receiving medals and honors, that is why they put up victors rostrum, national flags, play national anthems, athletes are clothed in national colors and national tables introduced to rank countries.
He said since Ghana wants to be ranked by winning medals, the nation would be represented by only medal hopefuls, hence the number of athletes would be reduced.
He noted that Ghana’s enviable record at international sports meetings is no more worthy to be written about, so strategically, they are taking a few athletes and officials.
But the message has not gone down well as many federation heads, coaches and athletes are not happy because they have prepared and trained only to be sidelined and it has caused misunderstanding, sadness, discouragement and demotivation in some disciplines.
The latest news reaching Yours Truly is that the number of disciplines has been cut from 17 to 12 as one of the reasons is that the government is lacking the funds to move all the athletes and officials to Morocco and back for ten days.
The 12 sports disciplines Yours Truly chanced upon are athletics, boxing, badminton, table tennis, tennis, fencing, beach volleyball, weightlifting, karate-do, taekwondo, judo and cycling.
I heard football and hockey are missing because they are a team sport and are large contingents.
Meanwhile, the athletes who are preparing for the Games are not finding it smooth at all, as they are going through difficult moments.
The boxers, Black Bombers, for instance, have not gone to any international trials to test them against any opposition.
They are involved in non-residential camping, moving from their respective homes to train at the Accra Sports Stadium every morning.
Some of them have their hopes dashed with the reduction in the number of boxers to compete for Ghana.
President of the Ghana Boxing Federation said they need a company to sponsor them, because they are not inspired and not happy with training conditions, though they have the skill and talent to box.
The beach volleyball players who won silver at the 2019 first African Beach Games in Cape Verde after eliminating the defending champions also train at the Laboma Beach at La, and also find it very difficult taking transport every time to training and not getting basic things like water to drink during and after training.
The new under 20 football team under coach Yaw Preko is relying on local players as the foreign-based players will not be released by their clubs.
The president of Ghana Taekwondo said the IGCC must work hand in hand with the federation heads on the quotas of athletes going so that they are aware and can also make positive contributions.
The president of Ghana Swimming said he is sad for one of the potential medal winners to be dropped as Abeiku Jackson, Ghana’s best swimmer who is currently at the World Swimming Championship is a medal hopeful at the 12th African Games, after his remarkable performance at the Youth Olympic Games and African Junior Games where he captained Team Ghana.
Regarding the future, I feel Ghana must take a sizable winsome team including young sportsmen and women, journalists, officials and coaches to Rabat 2019 to go and experience how the Games would be better organized in Accra 2023.
Four years may seem far but will be here soon.