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08.08.2002 Sports News

IAAF Concerned about Problems in Ghana Athletics

IAAF Concerned about Problems in Ghana Athletics
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:Representatives of Ghana Athletes Association To Meet the President of the World Organization TUNIS, TUNISIA. Problems in Ghanaian athletics have become so bad that the outside world has decided to intervene. The International Association Athletic Federations (IAAF) may be the first to do that, as IAAF representatives have called for a meeting between the representatives of the Ghana Athletes Association (GAA) and the President of the IAAF, Mr.Lamine Diack. The meeting will take place on Thursday (Aug 8) in Tunis, Tunisia, the site of the ongoing African Championships. Its purpose is to discuss Ghana’s problems and ways the IAAF could possibly intervene to save athletics in Ghana. This historical meeting is a result of yet another recent manifestation of Ghana’s problems in athletics. On Tuesday, the day of men’s 100-meter race at the African Championships, two Ghanas best sprinters were nowhere to be seen. Eric Nkansah and Aziz Zakari had not been able to arrive in Tunis because they had not yet received their flight tickets from Ghana, and could thus not leave Manchester, the site of their previous competition, the Commonwealth Games. The two athletes had to miss their event despite the fact that the meet organizers in Tunis postponed the heats from Tuesday morning to evening, so that Nkansah and Zakari could make it. The two athletes competed in Manchester several days ago, and would naturally have been able to travel to the African meet soon after that. The African Championships not only gives out the titles of the best in the continent; it also determines who will represent the African team in the World Cup in Madrid, Spain, on September 20-21. By Nkansah and Zakari’s absence, Ghana might lose its chance to be represented in that team – at least when it comes to men’s sprinting. However, if the two sprinters will still be able to travel to Tunis, they will have a chance to become part of the team if they place well in the 200-meter race, to be held on Friday. Therefore, the GAA and the African federation for athletics (CAAA) are working feverishly to get Zakari (Nkansah arrived yesterday) to Tunis as soon as possible. Despite all the psychological strain that Ghanaian athletes have had to go through, in their struggle to receive fair treatment as athletes, representatives of the Ghana Athletes Association are hopeful about Thursday’s meeting, because they are now also being heardby as authoritative a party as the IAAF. - Fighting for one’s legitimate spot in the team, worrying about getting flight tickets to competitions on time...That is all difficult, but we are pleased that we are now getting the attention we need - attention that will hopefully help bring about changes in Ghanaian athletics. At the end, our struggle will not have been in vain if we can improve the state of the sport in Ghana.

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