24.10.2004 Sports News

I buckled under the weight of the Olympics-Gaisah

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Accra, Oct 24, GNA - Ignatius Gaisah, the winner of the coveted Sport Personality of the Year award at the 29th annual Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) Awards Night held on Saturday, has blamed his below par performance at the just ended Olympics in Athens on the overwhelming pressure that the games brought on him.

The African long jump record holder and gold medallist from last year's All African Games said though other factors like a slight pain in his leg could have contributed to his failure, the main cause of his failure to win a medal was on the enormous weight that came with his maiden Olympic appearance.

Speaking to GNA Sports after sweeping two awards - Athlete of the Year and Sports personality of the year award, the athlete promised the nation that he would definitely bounce back and make amends in the next Olympics.

The SWAG annual awards night is held to decorate sportsmen and women who distinguished themselves during the year under review. For this year's event, 17 awards were given to deserving sportsmen and women who stood a shoulder above their colleges.

Gaisah, currently based in France and flown in for the awards ceremony, said the reason why he blames his poor performance on pressure was that, just two weeks after the games he beat practically the same field of athletes including the gold medal winner at the Olympics during the grand prix meeting.

He said the general performance of athletics during the games was below expectation because most members of the Ghanaian contingent apart from those who had been competing regularly did not have enough training prior to Athens.

Gaisah said for Ghana to rival the elites in the world of athletics it needs to ensure that its athletics are in the best of shape before any major competition. He said it was not the intention of any athlete that went to the games to sabotage the country as was being purported in some quarters since they all had their personal reputations to protect even though they were competing under the flag of Ghana.

Other award winners were the 4 by 100 meters quartet, which won gold in the last All African Games held in Aduja. In football, Aziz Ansah formerly of Kumasi Asante Kotoko who now plies his trade in Israel went home with the Player of the Year Award whilst former coach for Kotoko Abdul Rasak won the Coach of the Year award, for guiding the club to its first league trophy in almost a decade.

Award for Kotoko did not end there, as they also won the top-scoring club award last season.

Emmanuel Osei Kuffour of Accra Hearts of Oak won a special award for his dedication and valour whilst referee of the year went to Justice Yeboah.

Ashantigold young prolific goal scorer, Issah Shabu swept two awards, the promising star of the year and another for being the joint goalking with Kwadwo Poku formerly with Kumasi King Faisal and now in Denmark.

Other awards in the football were for female footballer of the year, which went to Adwoa Bayor, who also happens to be the reigning African female footballer of the year whilst Akosua Serwah took the discovery of the year also in female soccer.

The chairman of the year award went to Mr Ebo Bartels of the Ghana Table Tennis Association for his tireless effort that has resurrected the sport whilst Nana Yaw Boateng, the current national champion was also adjudged the table Tennis player of the year.

In volleyball, Casmil Agbenyegah won the player of the years award whilst that of Cycling when to John Zormel.

Patrick Obeng also won an award for his exploits in the wheel chair and Special Olympics.

There were special awards for Nana Addo Twun, a veteran awards winner who goes by the pen name Dan Rana, George Oppon Weah, Scancom Ghana Limited and Fetteh Fayenood Football Academy. All award winners went home with a trophy and some wax prints from Akonsombo Textiles.

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