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05.07.2004 Sports News

Athletes receive $1 each for winning Tourney

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Accra, July 5, GNA - The Greater Accra contingent won the overall best team award at the end of the national sports festival in Kumasi but little did Ghanaians know that they took home a paltry 10,000 cedis (about $1) each for their effort after the week-long competition.

The athletes broke the sad news to the GNA Sports in Accra on Monday when they had gone to present the four trophies they won at the competition.

Apart from being crown champions in Table Tennis, netball, boxing and the overall best, the team also won 11 gold medals, 10 silver and 15 bronze.

Two ladies from the netball team, who pleaded anonymity led the athletes to narrate their story, which included poor feeding which has resulted in many of them being attacked by diarrhoea.

They described the money given them as an insult and asked whether it was worth dying for the nation.

The boxers in particular alleged that on one occasion they went to bed without food because those in charge of the kitchen had closed. Mr Laud Acquaye, Greater Accra Interim Management Committee Chairman corroborated the story to the GNA but explained that they were disappointed by their sponsors hence could not raise enough money to cater for the 188 athletes and 19 officials.

He explained that the boxing bout went deep into the night and naturally the cooks could not have waited for them but indicated that the boxers took extra plates each the next morning.

The IMC Chairman said his outfit was yet to sit with the National Sports Council to arrange for something for the athletes.

He said the situation was so bad such that they had to rely on some organisations for vehicle to convey the athletes.

The regional Minister Sheik I. C. Quaye made a personal donation of 2,000,000 cedis to the athletes when they presented the trophies to him and assured them of his support to sustain team.

He said he was going to task the five District Chief Executives in the region to also top up what he has given to make the athletes happy. Sheik Quaye said his focal delivery was sports and would endeavour to solicit support to help the team defend the trophies have won.