C’wealth team cut to five
The size of the nation's athletics contingent for next week's Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England, has been slashed from 12 to five. The final list of the athletes who have been short-listed to represent the country at the games include Aziz Zakari (100m and 200m), Christian Nsiah (100m and 200m), Andrew Owusu (triple jump), Vida Anim (100m and 200m) and Margaret Simpson (heptathlon). According to a release signed by the acting Chief executive of the National Sports Council (NSC), Dr E. Owusu-Ansah, the late decision to cancel the country's participation in the relays was taken by the NSC in consultation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) and the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA). He noted that the unexpected withdrawal of Monica Twum and Kenneth Andam from the athletics team due to loss of form for the games has been the only setback. The release, however, stated that the nation's chances of winning medals at the games received tremendous boost with the arrival of Naa Amorkor Ollenu King, a world acclaimed Ghanaian weightlifter based in the United State of America. According to Dr Owusu-Ansah, the boxers and badminton players promised to raise high the flag of the country at the games when the minister of Youth and Sport visited them at a training session recently. Meanwhile, a source close to the selection committee revealed that three of the nation's Germany-based athletes are feverishly arranging to petition the Sports Minister for what they described as a calculated attempt to axe them from the Commonwealth team at the last hour by the committee. The trio, comprising Harry Adu-Mfum, Gifty Addy and Eric Nkansah originally listed as members of the 12-member athletics squad, have been dropped from the squad. They are said to have kicked against Andrew Owusu's earlier stand and claimed not to be party to the petition Owusu sent to President J. A. Kuffuor through the sector Minister, Mr Edward Osei-Kwaku. “If we were dropped due to the cancellation of the relay events, why then was Georgina Sowah who was billed to compete in long jump also be taken out,” they argued. According to the source, a reputable athletics trainer of Eric Nkansah and other Ghanaian athletes in Germany, Mr Walter Abmayr has criticised the entire selection exercise describing it as a sham. In his letter to the IGMC and the GAA, Mr Abmayr challenged the authorities to explain why Nkansah, who only last month run 10.15 in a competition in Germany and currently hold the fort as the number one flat runner in 100m has been removed from the athletics team.