27.07.2001 Sports News

No more holiday trips for athletes - Joe Aggrey

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Mr Joe Aggrey, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports has said that participation in international competitions would be limited to only athletes whose games have a strong foundation at home.

Speaking at the opening of the Kalaban Thome Memorial Basketball Tournament on Monday, Mr Aggrey said the government would prefer investing "the little that is available in developing the necessary infrastructure and the games at the grass roots" to paying per diem to athletes to go on holidays and sight seeing.

"The days of per diem seeking trips outside the country are gone. Let's invest the little that is available in developing the necessary infrastructure," he said.

The Deputy Minister said the development and promotion of sports have become too expensive for government alone to shoulder and called for the involvement of private organisations to give the "lesser sports" a leeway.

He said the ministry would encourage societies and organisations that wish to assist in the promotion and development of sports particularly, the "so called lesser sports such as volleyball, basketball, badminton and baseball" in order to pull them out of the doldrums.

Mr Aggrey said there are immense benefits derivable from investment in sports and called or corporate organisations and individuals to take advantage of such opportunities.

The Deputy Minister said the country stands to gain from a good sports policy because it would produce a healthy citizenry that would bring fame and honour to the nation and above all, accelerate national cohesion and unity.

He pledged the government's determination to provide "the appropriate infrastructure for the development and promotion of sports" and appealed to "stakeholders and other sponsors of the games to pull their resources together to put up modern multi-purpose basketball, volleyball and handball courts" of international standard.

The Deputy Minister commended the Lebanon Society for "its long link with sports development and promotion in the country" and expressed his happiness at their resumption of volleyball sponsorship after a three-year break.

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