Accra, June 17, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has lamented over the declining haul of laurels by African countries at recent Olympic Games in view of the many problems the continent has had to grapple with, but promised that things are about to change. He said the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) has been empowered by the African Union (AU) to put in the necessary structures to promote and develop high quality sports on the continent.
Speaking at the opening of the 11th General Meeting of the Association of National Olympics Committees of Africa (ANOCA) in Accra on Friday, President Kufuor said in a bid to remedy the situation, the African Union (AU) has placed sports development and promotion very high on its agenda and is going to use it in achieving some of the objectives of NEPAD.
President Kufuor said for the realisation of the laudable idea of the AU, the SCSA would need to focus on informed leadership and develop the sharp skills in resource mobilisation for the work. To this end, the President urged the delegates who would be electing new executive officers of the Association for the next four years at the end of the two-day General Assembly to ensure that they elect people of high quality who would render dedicated, purposeful and selfless service to ensure the development of sports on the continent.
Whilst thanking the out going executives, President Kufuor asked the incoming leaders to take into cognisance the vision and ideals of the AU and NEPAD, which are aimed at mainstreaming the continent in the evolution of the global village.
The President also tasked the members of ANOCA to recognise the current trend of affairs as their most important challenge to electing the next crop of leaders since sports is one of the surest avenues by which the vision of AU can be achieved.
President Kufuor took the opportunity to congratulate Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the successful organisation of the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens, which was dubbed the "unforgettable games". He also commended the IOC President for his tough stance on doping in sports, saying the country shares in the IOC's policy of 'zero tolerance' for doping in sports.
"Cheating on drugs to achieve laurels undermines the noble values of sports in general and in particular the Olympics, who's chief attribute is the universal involvement of all people and races. He added that, "The true athlete is the one who performs on his God given talent." President Kufuor said since Ghana is a signatory to the Copenhagen Convention on doping it is bound to fight doping in sports locally and globally. He said the beauty of sports is not only the enjoyment by the sportsmen and spectators but also the important values of respect and tolerance that enables the lofty objectives of the Olympics Movement to
be achieved. President Kufuor wished all the five bidding cities who have come down to sell their bids to host the 30th Olympiad in 2012 to the African delegates before the 119 session of the IOC in Singapore to select to host city the best of luck. Mr Jacque Rogge in an address thanked the people of Ghana for not only hosting the ANOCA Congress but for its support for sports in general. Mr Benson Tongo Baba, President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), in an opening address asked the delegates not to allow their language and regionalism influence their voting pattern but rather elect members who are competent and prepared to work hard to uplift the image of sports on the continent. He tasked the up coming executives to reintroduce zonal sporting competitions to unearth more talents for the continent.