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16.08.2002 Sports News

Ghana makes amends in Tunis

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GHANA failed to make any meaningful impact at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester but the country made sure it left a mark at the just-ended 13th African Athletics championship in Tunisia.

Ghana's predominately home-based team minus three top female sprinters (due to injury) managed to grab a total of four medals. It was made up of a gold, two silver and a bronze medal.

In Tunis, just as she did a week earlier in Manchester, Margaret Simpson became Ghana's shinning star as she grabbed the country's only gold medal in the heptathlon in which she set two national records.

The two silver medals were won by Andrew Owusu (triple jump) and Abdul Aziz Zakari (200m) both of who made amends for the Commonwealth Games disappointment. Simpson, Owusu and Zakari thus qualify to compete for Africa in the IAAF World Cup in Madrid, Spain next month.

The home-based female quartet of Isha Pinnamang, Vida Bruce, Gerogina Sowah, and Germany-based Gifty Addy managed a respectable third place in the 4x100m relay but missed out on the Madrid fiesta.

Ghana's medal haul could have been bigger but for travel hitches by the Ghana Athletics Association (GAAA) that deprived Zakari, Eric Nkansah and Harry Adu Mfum from arriving in Tunis in time to compete in the 100 metres.

Zakari, gold medalist in 2001, and Nkansah could have easily made it to the top six in the 100m and thus gain automatic place in Africa's relay team for Spain.

Last Saturday, however, the nation's top sprinter clocked 20.33 seconds to finish behind Namibian Frankie Fredericks in the 200m final. Young Bruce, in her first major international competition managed to advance to the final of the women's 200m but could not make it to the winners' podium.

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