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27.12.2004 Sports News

GOC, a lifeline to Ghana's sports in 2004

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Accra, Dec. 27, GNA - Unknown to the sporting public in the country, the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) provided the lifeline in rejuvenating and resuscitating the nation's sports especially ahead of the recently held Athens Olympics Games in Greece.

For the first time since joining the Olympic family in 1952, the GOC shouldered the responsibility of clothing the entire contingent that participated in the August Games, which unfortunately Ghana failed to fetch a medal.

Mr B. T. Baba, President of the GOC told the GNA Sports in his assessment of the performance of the Committee in 2004 that contrary to what people think, the GOC relieved the government of a chunk its financial obligations by providing some of the key ingredients which traditionally fell under the ambit of the state.

Chiefly among the achievements, were the pre-financing of the training tours of the nation's athletes ahead of the Games and paying of allowances of the foreign-based athletes.

Some of the high points of the Committee included providing training assistance to several of the sports associations, supporting Ghana's youth team at the just ended Commonwealth Youth Championship in Melbourne, Australia where 14 year-old Vivian Mills won a bronze for Ghana in the sprints, as well as sponsoring the national under-17's soccer team's second leg trip to Tunisia in their penultimate qualifier to the African Championship scheduled for Gambia in March, next year.

Mr Baba also stated financial assistance to several of the associations including their participations at congresses plus technical and administrative training courses the GOC had organised for them. He was particularly elated at the success of lobbying for the establishment of the Olympic African Project at Amasaman in the Ga District, which he believed, would bring enormous benefits to the country.

The GOC is awaiting its next financial assistance of 57,000 US dollars from the parent body, the International Olympic Organisation (IOC), to bring the work on the building to an appreciable level. Perhaps more refreshing is the ability of the GOC to scheme for the hosting of the Ninth General Assembly, an election congress of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), slated for Accra from June 16 - 19, 2005.

Mr Baba said it is one most singular event, which would open several windows of opportunities for Ghana to table her needs before those who matter in the Olympic family for attention.

Touching on some of the low points, the president said it was unfortunate that the country's medal hopefuls failed to grab any medal at the Athens Olympics but was quick to say that the future looked bright for Ghana.

His optimism stems from the fact that most of the athletes were young and were making their maiden appearance at the Olympics, adding that under the circumstances, their output was not abysmal in any way.

Ignatius Gaisah placed fifth in the long jump, Margaret Simpson was among the final eight in the heptathlon, while Vida Anim recorded the fastest time during the heats in the 100 metres.

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