Ho, Sept. 15, GNA - The 23rd edition of the Inter-Regional Schools and Colleges Sports Festival in Ho ended on Sunday with the Central Region winning the coveted overall trophy.
The region won five gold medals in the boys and girls table tennis, male athletic, female cross-country and soccer for boys. The central region also won two silver in the girls athletics and the boys' cross-country race to displace Greater Accra Region, which won the 2001 edition in Takoradi.
By this feat, they had retained the trophies in table tennis and boys athletics.
Ashanti Region placed second with two gold in the girls athletics and the hockey events, two silver in boys' table tennis and the girls cross country and five bronze in girls soccer, boys athletics, table tennis girls, boys hockey and boys cross-country.
The third position went to the Greater Accra Region, which won a gold in the boys hockey, three silver in girls soccer, boys athletics and girls hockey in addition to two bronze in girls athletics and boys volleyball.
Volta Region came fourth with a gold medal in the boys' cross-country, two silver in soccer boys and a bronze in the girls' hockey event.
Upper East was fifth with a gold and a bronze, followed by Western who picked a gold in the girls' soccer.
The seventh position went to Northern followed closely by Eastern, Brong Ahafo and Upper West placed last.
In the handball game, which was played on non-scoring basis, Greater Accra won both the male and female divisions. The event will however, be played on scoring basis in the 2005 festival to be staged in Brong Ahafo.
The best-behaved region went to the Eastern while the Greater Accra and Central regions placed second and third respectively.
Master Nana Yaw Boateng of Eastern and Linda Nkansah of Ashanti were adjudged the best players in table tennis while George Asiedu of Greater Accra and Esther Ofori Adobea of Ashanti were the best in hockey while Robert Aryeetey of Eastern won the promising star.
Master Benjamin Dankwa of Volta and Helena Mensah of Central won the best soccer player award in the male and female divisions respectively while Samuel Ampofo of Greater Accra and Fiona Asufabri of Upper East were adjudged best players in volleyball.
Handball best players went to Michael Richmond of Central and Memuna Musa of Greater Accra while the best in cross-country went to Evans Pobee of Eastern and Janet Afedzie of Central Region. Master Samuel Owusu of Greater Accra and Salamatu Alhassan of Ashanti won the best athletics awards.
The winners were given certificates and special prizes from corporate institutions and individuals.
Reverend Ama Afo Blay, Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) in a speech read for her, urged school administrators, teachers and coaches to remove all impediments, which militate against the teaching of Physical Education (PE) and its related programmes at all levels in order to consolidate the gains made in the federation sports.
She appealed to corporate institutions and individuals to help give meaning to efforts to nurture talents of schoolboys and girls into stardom.
Rev Afo Blay advised the students to be disciplined, persevere and be studious "as the sky is the limit."
She commended Nestle Ghana Limited, Start Kist, Ghana Hockey Association and other individuals including Dr Albert B. Taylor for their immense contributions to the development of sports.
Mr E.A. Kissiedu, Chairman of the National Schools and Colleges Sports Federation entreated the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to rejuvenate sporting activities in schools by improving on facilities. In a related development, the Volta Regional Co-coordinating Council (VRCC) hosted the 1,800 participants and selected officials to a cocktail party.
Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, Regional Minister, said government is determined to make the future of sportsmen and women proud, exhorting them to excel to the international sporting arena "bearing in mind sports has become financially rewarding." He urged them to abstain from illicit sex and live exemplary moral lifestyles.
Meanwhile, the festival has served as poaching ground for the security agencies in view of the government's intention to re-organized the Security Services Sports Association (SESSA) games. The revised programme has been slated for December, this year, in Accra.