07.07.2004 Sports News

Minister leads Ghanaian cyclists to Cote D'Ivoire

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Accra, July 7, GNA - Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports will lead a 10-man cyclists contingent to La Cote D'Ivoire next Thursday for an 11-day international cycling competition dubbed La Route de L'est.

It would be the first time in recent years that a Minister of State would lead a contingent of a lesser-known sport such as cycling to an international competition.

Seven other countries, made up of host, Cote D'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Morocco, France and Belgium, are expected to compete in the 16-26 July competition, which was originally meant for clubs. Itinerary for the competition include road race, individual time trial and the Criteria in a total of 840 kilometres.

The Ghana Cycling Association (GCA) in order to send a crack team to represent the country will therefore begin a four-day justify-your-inclusion exercise from Friday to select six cyclists from the 24 short-listed for the competition.

The exercise commences with a 60-kilometre individual time trial from Adenta to Ayikuma and back which is to be followed by road training from the Nungua barrier to Atimpoku and back (160 km).

According to a spokesman for the Association, Mr Shaban Mohammed, it would be followed with an individual time trial of four km and 80km of the Criteria at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.

The cyclists would round off their programme with a "hill climbing exercise" from Adenta, Ayikuma, Larteh and to Somanya junction and back to Adenta.

Trouble however, seem to be looming slowly ahead of the competition as Nippon cycling club of Tema, which has always contested the decisions of the GCA is bent on sending a rivalry team to Cote D'Ivoire on grounds that the competition was for clubs and not for national teams.

They have dared the association and have vowed to flout any lay-down procedure for such competition, which include going with the authorisation of the association.

In a telephone conversation with the organisers from Cote D'Ivoire, the GNA Sports was informed that although the competition was meant for clubs, Ghana has always been represented by her national team because it was difficult to find a single solid team to do so.

Subsequently, they (organisers) would only welcome any Ghanaian contingent with the authorisation from the GCA.

Mr Mohammed told the GNA Sports that a fax message to that effect would be sent by close of work on Friday.

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