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16.07.2004 Sports News

Athletes, Officials Off To Brazzaville

By Graphic
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A team of eight athletes and four officials left Accra last Tuesday for the African Seniors Championship in Congo Brazzaville with the national athletics chiefs still uncertain about the foreign-based band.

Under the circumstance, Ghana is relying on a home-based squad for honours at the competition, while United States-based Mariama Salifu adds an international bite to Ghana's challenge for honours at the event.

The young sprinter was expected to join her colleagues by yesterday when the competition began in the Congolese capital.

Expectations at the championship, however, run counter to an earlier position held by the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), which tied selection for Athens to athletes' participation in the African Championship.

Most of these athletes had expressed dissatisfaction at the GAA's insistence on their participation in the Congo Meet at a time they were still battling for outstanding allowances from the athletics association.

The order of compulsory attendance, the Graphic Sports learnt from GAA inside source, softened to one of option, affording the athletes a chance of competing in money-generating competitions in Europe and elsewhere.

For Mariama, the championship will afford her a chance to qualify for the Olympics, where she may become a vital figure if Ghana should compete in the shorter relay.

When she arrives, Mariama will join forces with Gifty Addy, Aisha Pinamang, Mercy Tabiri, all sprinters, and long jumper Georgina Sowah to present Ghana's challenge.

Clement Agyemang, Gad Boakye, Robert Mantey and Smart Abbey are the male contingent of the squad that was led by GAA Chairman, Mr George Lutterodt.

The team was accompanied by coaches E. A. Moses and Albert Nukpezah, while GAA General Secretary, Mr Ekow Wilson, was the last official. The competition ends on Sunday.

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