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23.02.2006 Sports News

Ministry rebukes Association and demands explanation

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Accra, Feb. 23, GNA - The Ministry of Education and Sports has rebuked officials of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) for their conduct in Lome during the two-day National Athletics championships and has demanded explanation from them.

The Ministry said it approved 120 million cedis to the GAA to organised trials to test the readiness of the local athletes selected for next month's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, and was thus, surprised that the event was turned into a National championship "perhaps just to please the International Amateur Athletics Association (IAAF)."

Dr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, Director of Sports Development who was part of a two-man delegation from the Ministry told the GNA Sports after the championship in Lome, Togo, that "we were surprised that the GAA decided to use part of the money for things that were not factored into the budget."

He said for instance, no provision was made for monetary rewards for winners at the end of the championship and was surprised to discover that the winning medallists were presented with 100,000, 70,000 and 50,000 cedis respectively for winning gold, silver and bronze. Dr Owusu-Ansah said such a sensitive issue like monetary rewards if not properly managed could demoralise athletes and derail progress made.

The Ministry approved the money to cover about 80 athletes to cater for their feeding, accommodation and allowances but the GAA went to Lome with 137 athletes because of late entries.

As a result, the GAA was compelled to cut down on a lot of things including allowances.

Each athlete for instance was given a paltry 40,000 cedis for the three-day stay while accompanying journalists took 100,000 cedis each but allowances of officials were not disclosed.

Some "rebel" athletes, who although did qualify to run in the finals of the 4X100 meters event, boycotted the race on grounds that they had been treated unfairly by officials of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA).

They described the treatment not only as an insult to their intelligence but as a de-motivation to the development to athletics in the country.

The peeved athletes mostly from the Ghana University Sports Association (GUNSA) said they had sacrificed by forgoing lectures on campus for the trials only to be "insulted".