(A commentary by Rose Anderson, GNA Sports Desk)
Accra, Aug. 12, GNA- I had the opportunity to watch the just-ended basic schools district athletics competition at the Accra Sports Stadium and I must confess that it fell far below my expectation. I was disappointed.
While some of the athletes run with zeal, others did so unwillingly; giving every indication that left to them, they would have chosen to be among the cheering spectators.
As I watched them, my heart bled for these hapless innocent children who seemed oblivious of what is happening in sports today. I turned and asked a lady teacher why these innocent ones are made to run bare-footed on the tartan tracks and her response was what I had expected: "there no money".
What really baffled me is that such competitions are organised with the sole aim of unearthing talents for future laurels but the question is if there is no money to finance such competitions, why bother the young ones at all; why not leave them alone. Of what use is a vision without action, of what use is a potential if there are no facilities and equipment to develop that potential.
Most of our sportsmen and women are rusting due to lack of national and international competitions. They train very hard with what is available only to be told in the long run that there is no money for any competition whatsoever.
The nation has lost its focus in sports in the sense that football seemed to have replaced every other sport.
The national athletics competition which was held every year to unearth talents for the nation is finally back after three years of absence without the usual lustre.
Mr.Stephen Atuahene, head coach of the Ghana Athletic Association (GAA) remarked that such competitions help them to assess themselves as coaches.
'Without competitions, we cannot assess our own work and I am glad that it is finally back.'
The nation cannot loose sight of the fact that it is from such competitions that athletes like Eric Nkansah, Aziz Zakari, Margaret Simpson and others have emerged.
If football, our passionate game has failed the nation, why not focus on other disciplines, which have been crying for attention all these while.
Some countries are well known because of some individuals who have distinguished themselves in some disciplines. One can name Frankie Frederick of Namibia who captured the world in athletics, Gabraisalassie of Ethiopia and many more.
Sports as an activity, offers the individual the opportunity of self -esteem, self-expression, fulfilment, personal achievement, acquisition of skills and demonstration of ability.
Moreover, it offers social interaction among peers, enjoyment, good health and a general well being which contribute significantly in a way to the development of the community but needless to say most people show gross ignorance about these assertions.
It is therefore a welcome news that the Accra and Kumasi tartan tracks where nurtured athletes like Alice Anum, Rose Hart among others shot to the lime light are finally going to be replaced. This is among other promises by the authorities to help develop sports in general for the country to recapture her lost glory in sports.