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03.03.2006 Sports News

NSC reacts to ministry's allegations

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Accra, March 3, GNA - The National Sports Council (NSC) on Friday denied that some "rebel" athletes, who although did qualify to run in the finals of the 4X100 meters event at the Lome trials, boycotted the race on grounds that they had been treated unfairly by officials of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA).

It explained that the army team did not run in the relay race because of ill health of two members of the team. A statement signed by the newly appointed Chief Executive, Prince Ernest Oduro in reaction to a GNA Sports story headlined: "Ministry rebukes GAA, demands explanation", said the two athletes had earlier in the day participated in 400-metres but developed some chest problems as a result of strong wind.

It, however, confirmed the prize money of 100,000 cedis, 70,000 cedis and 50,000 cedis for athletes who won gold, silver and bronze saying, they were factored into the budget and that the ministry could not claim to be unaware.

Dr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, Director of Sports Development at the Ministry had told the GNA Sports that no provision was made for monetary rewards for winning athletes adding that "such a sensitive issue like monetary rewards if not properly managed could demoralize athletes and derail progress made."

The NSC statement also confirmed that 12 journalists received 100,000 cedis each as allowances while officiating officials took between 100,000 cedis and 200,000 cedis "depending on their status and the role performed throughout the championship." The NSC said the ministry was aware that money requested was meant for national championship and not trials to test the readiness of the five local athletes selected for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, as claimed.

It recalled the letter for the release of funds of- 112,435,000.00 out of which 110,400,000.00 cedis was released - was captioned: "Request for Funds to Organize National Championship." On the number of athletes sent to Lome, the NSC said the approval covered 110 athletes and the GAA made provision for extra five from the Ghana University Association (GUNSA).

"Additionally, the University of Ghana registered six athletes, five from CEPS and four from the Ghana Armed Forces who (organizations) paid for their participants," the statement said. It said the total number of athletes was 130 and not 137 as said in the story.

The statement said GUNSA was participating in the championship for the first time and wanted to use it as part of its preparations towards the West Africa University Games scheduled for Lagos, Nigeria, and was thus, surprised that GUNSA had high expectations for allowance. The statement also explained that until their arrival in Lome, officials were unaware that rooms allocated for the athletes at the stadium were mosquito-infested. "When we got the information, we quickly provided mosquito spray for all rooms," it said. 03 March 06