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13.07.2002 Sports News

Why is the Truth Being Twisted?

By Andrew Owusu
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.........Two Athletes opt out C'wealth Games
“Although the two are believed to be quitting the competition, arguably due to poor preparations, there are mounting rumors that Andam and Monica's withdrawal is in protest of an earlier opposing stand taken against Mr. Atuahene.” The above quote seems to suggest that the two athletes, who have opted out, did so in support of Coach Athuahene, but amnanfo, nothing could be further from the truth. These two athletes simply opted out of the Commonwealth Games because they were not physically ready. Monica Twum was part of the group of foreign-based athletes who petitioned the Minister of Youth and Sports to have Coach Athuahene dropped from the team in the first place. Second, because of not hearing from the GAAA, Monica Twum decided, after the first week in May 2002, to stop training and enroll in summer school at Texas Christian University. This was because, she was not sure that Ghana was going to include her in the Commonwealth Games and need to enroll in summer school in order to receive a monthly stipend from the University. Remember folks that not a pesewa has been paid to any athlete for preparation towards the Commonwealth Games. That is the simple truth. She decided to stop training almost two months ago, a full month before the foreign-based athletes decided to call for a boycott. Whom are we trying to kid here? She did what any sensible athlete will do. That is, to be honest and let her country know that she was not in form to compete. However, a different spin has been put on this to make it seem that the athletes are divided. Unfortunately, the miracle of e-mail has brought us together, much closer than some would like to see. Kenneth Andam also voiced his objection to the three different teams that were selected not based on merit. He himself will tell you that due to his work schedule and his frustration with athletics this year; he decided to call it quits for the year. In fact, the following is a quote from an email that he wrote to me 3 weeks ago; “I am doing a lot of over seas trips lately for business and so I haven't had the time to keep track of what is going on with the Ghana team and all the officials regarding the Commonwealth Games” (June 26th, 2002). In addition, Kenneth will be the first one to tell you that he has not competed this year. Therefore, how can anybody claim that Kenneth decided not to go as protest against the stand that his fellow athletes took? Like Monica, he made the correct decision not to go because he is not physically ready and would not want to compete knowing very well that he had not been be able to prepare as much as he would have liked to. This attempt to divide the athletes by pitching one against the other is stupid. Can’t people see through all these half-truths? What do you think would have been said about Monica and Kenneth had they decided to go and not been able to perform up to par? These same so-called critics, would have pointed a finger at them and said, “See, after all that noise, the foreign based athletes failed again”. Kenneth and Monica should be commended for stepping forward and saying, “I am not ready”. We should applaud these athletes for doing the morally right thing and not try to twist their decisions into something that is not. “The source added that apart from Abdul Aziz Zakari who has been consistent throughout the year as far as international competitions are concerned, none of the remaining athletes has engaged in any high-level competition within the time frame being used by the International Games Management Committee (IGMC) as yardstick for its selection.” Again, the truth is being twisted. The question that should be asked is “why is Aziz the only Ghanaian getting into some major competitions in Europe this year?” The truth my friends is that, due to his awesome performances over the past two years, he has earned a name for himself coupled with performance results to get into these meets. If one were to check the start lists of those meets, you will realize that it is mostly the top ten in the world, in their respective events, that get to compete at those competitions. However, reputation is important. Indeed, if you were to check the current world list (http://www.iaaf.org/Results/lists/2002/outdoor/G/m/100.html) for the 100m, you will notice that Aziz is ranked 31st. But, due to his experience and proven ability, he still manages to get into some of these high-level meets were he actually beats on a regular basis, athletes ranked higher than he is. NEVERTHELESS, LET ME THROW A WRENCH INTO THE CRITICS WAY OF ANALYSING ATHLETICS. Andrew Owusu, myself, is currently ranked 32nd in the world in the triple jump (http://www.iaaf.org/Results/lists/2002/outdoor/G/m/TJ.html), only one position lower than Aziz. Therefore, why is Owusu not getting into those high-level European meets? Again simple logic, which seems to elude my critics. Owusu, for the past two years has not been as good as Aziz has been. Therefore, he cannot get into those high level competitions based on reputation alone since other people in the world have better performance marks this year than he does on paper. Therefore, not having the reputation over the last two years makes it difficult to get into these competitions. But if the same critics have been paying attention to results from these high-level competitions, whey would have realized that Owusu could easily make the final in any of those competitions since the marks from 6th to 8th place in these competitions easily falls within his current season best. For the other Ghanaian athletes, who cannot afford to buy a ticket and finance their accommodation in Europe over an entire summer, how fair is this insinuation to them that they are failing by not appearing in high-level competitions? How on earth do you expect to see them in any of these high-level meets? Have we gotten to the point where our dreams have exceeded the reality of the situation? How are these athletes supposed to keep in competition shape when none of them has been given a pesewa to finance a trip to Europe in order to maintain competition form as they work their way up? Aziz and I (to a degree) are the exception. Of all the 6 billion people in the world, we are currently ranked 31st and 32nd respectively in our respective events. Yet some seem to think I am failing. You be the judge based on the facts. Finally, the article posted on Ghanaweb.com about two Athletes opting out of C'wealth Games, alluded to the fact that “….Mr. Atuahene was interrogated, he expressed his innocence of any visa fraud or acts of corruption but decided to step down in the interest of national peace and progress. The minister said much as he appreciates the gesture by Atuahene, he would entreat the athletes to substantiate their allegation during the games or find an appropriate time to do so”. Why should the foreign-based athletes be asked for proof when the National Sports Council suspended SS. Athuahene for two weeks because of his inclusion in the visa for cash scandal? Why suspend him for two weeks, then demote him and ask the foreign-based athletes to prove he is at fault? With all due respect, we are not calling “fouls” without merit. On April 23rd 2002 the following quote, which is a part of an article written by Rosalind Amoh appeared in the Daily Graphic. The article was titled “What’s going on at NSC? • Chief Athletics Coach cut to size?

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