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10.09.2003 Sports News

Ghana Baseball team out of Abuja games

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Accra, Sept 10, GNA - The Ghana National Baseball team will not be part of the contingent to represent Ghana at this year's All African Games in Abuja, Nigeria, from October 4 to 18 due to financial constraints.

In an interview with the GNA Sports in Accra on Wednesday, Dr. Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, Acting Chief Executive of the National Sports Council said it was not their intention to drop any discipline that was duly qualified but "there is the need for us to cut our coat according to our size".

He said, even though the Baseball Association is alleged to have had some financial support from the Japanese Oversee Development Agency (JICA) to enable them participate, the NSC boss said nothing concrete was agreed on hence the nation could not risk sending the team to the championship.

"Initially it was our idea to send all sporting disciplines that qualify to the games to give them the needed exposure even if they do not win medals, unfortunately things did not work out the way we thought".

"We are far behind our sister African countries and it is sheer bravo-do that we are still mounting our position as the best 15th athletics nation on the continent. The facilities they train on in Ghana is nothing to write home about", Dr Owusu Ansah told the GNA.

The NSC boss said even though the Baseball Association suggested traveling to the games by road and also forgo their per diem just for the seek of exposure, it was kicked against on grounds that it will be discriminatory and would not be good for the country's image.

"We intend to go to Abuja as a group and to do things in unison hence baseball going on their own is not the best and against the norm. "Presently, we are taking some serious austerity measures which includes living for Nigeria four days behind our original scheduled date in order to save some 30,000 dollars to enable us add an event like Judo which is an individual sports as compared to baseball which requires a whole team.

"Baseball needs not less than a 25-man contingent excluding officials which will cost 80,000 dollars and could put a strain on the limited budget", Dr Owusu Ansah said.

He said the Chairman of the weightlifting association is sponsoring weightlifting, which is a big boost to the team.

Dr Owusu-Ansah said the country, as at the closing date for registration of events, entered for 11 disciplines -hockey, soccer, boxing, table tennis, volleyball, judo, taekwondo, athletics, weightlifting, karate-do and handball.

He said the total cost for the 11 sports discipline is 4.5 billion cedis including kits for all the teams, valued at 700 million cedis.

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