Accra, Oct 20, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports has appealed to the Japanese Government to facilitate the building of a new sports gymnasium to help train Ghanaian athletes and other sports men and women.
The Minister said the early construction of the gymnasium in the country would go a long way in serving as a fitting 50th anniversary gift to the government and people of Ghana, which comes off in 2007. Mr Osafo-Maafo made the appeal at a ceremony to take delivery of gymnasium equipment and Judo mats worth 500,000 dollars donated by the government of Japan under the Japanese Cultural Grant Aid. He expressed the government's deep gratitude to the government and people of Japan for the sports items, which he said would go a long way to strengthen the already cordial relationship existing between the two countries.
The Minister said the donation is a sequel to a similar donation in 1986 that came in the form of physiology and audio-visual equipment to the National Sports College, now known as the C.K Gyamfi College in Winneba.
Mr Osafo-Maafo said the request for the gym equipment, which was made in 2002 was to motivate Ghanaian sportsmen and women who are noted for their abundant raw talents.
He said the possession of raw talents alone however without the power and strength, which are the foundations for outstanding sports performance to support it, is not enough to achieve results. Mr Osafo-Maafo said since raw talents can only be enhanced through regular exercises, the presentation of the equipment would go a long way in help to unearth the true potentials of most Ghanaian athletes. He also noted the provision of additional grants from the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) in the form of coaches for sporting disciplines as athletics, basketball, baseball, judo and table tennis.
"That is not all, I am also aware that the Japanese Embassy in Ghana as part of its 'Ghana-Japan Friendship Month', has been sponsoring a Judo championship which has really helped to uplift the image of the sport in Ghana"
Mr Masamichi Ishikawa, the Japanese Ambassador in Ghana in presenting the items asked the NSC to put the equipment to good use. He said his government is committed to assisting the people of Ghana not only in her economic development but also to extend its co-operation in enhancing Ghana's sports and culture.
The Ambassador said it is his personal belief that sports enlivens and activates people and communities and should at every time be promoted hand in hand with the economic development process of a country.
"It is obvious that sports is the passion of the people of Ghana and it plays an important role as it promotes friendship by integrating people of divergent background.
"Furthermore helping talented youth through sports education will promote prosperity of the nation as the future rests on their shoulders".
The ambassador said he was optimistic that the 200 mats given to the Judo Association will further help develop the sport in Ghana which would in turn deepen the mutual understanding about the various cultures of the two countries.
The total consignment was made up of 14 units with multi purpose functions like arm curling, Arm, Leg and back Extension, Chest press, treadmill and curling machines among others. 20 Oct 05