Accra, April 30, GNA - Ghana is to send a contingent of 60 to participate in Athletics, Football and weightlifting for this year's Olympic Games scheduled for Athens, Greece.
The physically challenged will also participate in the Para-Olympic Games to be held at the same venue a month after the Olympic Games while the final preparations by the sports ambassadors will be held outside the country.
Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports said this at the Ghana Olympic Committee's (GOC) official Fund Raising launch programme for the Athens 2004 Games in Accra.
He said in the meantime, efforts are being done to get the warm-up tracks at the Kumasi Sports Stadium ready at least one month before the games to enable the athletes to get some good training at home.
The Minister said the Ministry in conjunction with the Ghana Football Association has arranged with the Football Federation in Portugal for the Black Meteors to do their final preparations for the games there while the athletes and weightlifters will also be exposed to international training programmes outside the country to enable them make the desired impact.
Mr Baah-Wiredu said in line with the Government's commitment to revive sports and to bring it to a respective level in the country, the Ministry is in the process of putting in place a new National Sports Bill, a draft of which is before Cabinet.
He said the focus of the bill is to put in place effective management and administrative structures to run sports in the country. "Above all, the Bill will also put the necessary legislation in place to make private sector investment in sports more attractive and rewarding. It is our expectation that by the close of the year, the Bill will be passed into an Act of Parliament to pave the way for an accelerated development and promotion of sports in the country," he added.
Mr Baah-Wiredu congratulated the GOC on the well-conceived decision to solicit for funding from private sources to supplement Government's effort and expressed sincere appreciation to companies and individuals who in diverse ways contribute towards the promotion and development of sports in the country.
Totally pledges so far made to the GOC amounted to about 300 million cedis with T.T Brothers presenting 1000 dollars, Dr Kofi Amoah, Chairman of CAN 2008 Bidding Committee, 50 million cedis and Gemini Life Insurance, a 1.2 billion insurance cover for the entire contingent and a cash amount of 10 million cedis.
Mr B.T. Baba, President of the GOC said other activities lined up to raise funds for the Games include a GOC official Fund raising to be launched in Kumasi on 28 May, Special Olympic Night with the Stars on June first and Olympic Dinner dance on July 2.
The others are an Olympic Riffle Draw to be organised in conjunction with Sports One Network on first May, display of donation boxes at commercial centres, musical performance by TIC TAC at the National Theatre La Beach on 26th and 27th June 2004.