DOSSIER: Team Ghana smiles despite flawed All Africa Games preps

first_imgThe All Africa Games begins on Friday in Congo Brazzaville.The 16-day competition will end on the 19th, with 54 countries participating in 22 events. Team Ghana, having departed on Sunday, will be there.A 350-member contingent departed Accra with the aim of bettering their previous performance in 2011, where 17 medals were taken (four gold, five silver and eight bronze). That trip to Maputo, Mozambique will forever be remembered as a disaster.And it may yet happen again.That’s because Ghana has had a tortuous preparation for these Games fraught with so many problems. Chief among them has been a lack of financial support and resources to use in training.The 16 disciplines that will represent the country have been training for varying periods, but it is feared that their sub-par preps will leave Ghana with very few medals at the end of the tournament. In April this year, the Ghana team threatened to boycott the Games because of frustrations regarding the lack of support from the government.The various associations stated a deadline of May 15 for the money to be realeased. That notwithstanding, the money came on July 8. And even then it was just a fraction of the expected $ 4million.With days to the start of the anticipated Games to commence, here are a few perspectives from some executives of the various associations.Hussein Addy (Secretary General, Ghana Weightlifting Federation) “We’ve been positive in our preparation towards the All Africa games. A sport like ours requires constant training [and] we’ve been at it for a while. The technical team has done a great job with training the athletes to their expectations.”We are focusing on the Games because that’s what is important, regardless of the issues we have. There is a real threat from the north African countries because they have a very structured training program that has lots of competitions to keep them in shape. But I remain positive we will win some medals to make the nation proud.”Paul Atsu (Ghana Volleyball president) “We are more than ready because for one year now, we’ve been preparing. When you look at beach volleyball, we’ve been looking at programmes of a world class nature. We played a tournament in Qatar and then another tournament in San Francisco. And then we played a tournament in St Petersburg, Russia and we were able to qualify for the World Cup which will be played in Holland.”All these are preparations we have done and the players will go and toughen themselves physically and mentally.” “I will say we are right in that direction and personally I want to talk about selections, competitons we have played and the results we have had should show how prepared we are.”Paul Atsu on indoor volleyball”The indoor participation is getting high these days and we are preparing ourselves for it as well. Locally, we played the league across all the regions to gather the players. From there, we have brought about this competition, we can’t travel to Togo, go to Nigeria and go to Benin to play so we are arranging for the players to come to Accra.You know it’s a volleyball festival, so the players are on top. Even before that looking at the coaches we have, they are all level one coaches and the know what is going on. We organized a coaching course for three weeks for them this past July and the resource persons were from Germany and Austria. “It was really intensive so the players and coaches and the technical side are on top.”Adnan Lamptey (PRO, Ghana Tae Kwan Do Federation)”We also started training about a year ago and although the funds didn’t come early my team weren’t too concerned about it. We didn’t rely on anybody and they were just focused on training for the games. “We are ready to compete and definitely win medals for the country.” Filipina Frimpong (General Secretary, Ghana Tennis Federation)”Our preps, in truth, started on the low since there were no funds and resources for the athletes to train. But since some of the funds were released the team has trained very well.”We feel very ready especially because our local league has been running and also with support from some corporate bodies. It’s not much but it has helped us train. And although there will be stiff competition from other countries, especially the north Africans”. Erasmus Kwaw (PRO, Ghana Athletics Association)”Team Ghana has always looked to athletics to do us some good in Games like this so we’ll never stop believing. We fancy their chances in the sprints and other track and field events.”Ghana will be represented by many foreign-based athletes. The foreign-based roster includes sprinters Emmanuel Dasor, Flings Owusu-Agyapong, Gemma Acheampong, Suzie Acolatse, Janet Amponsah, heptathlete Elizabeth Dadzie, triple jumpers Nadia Eke and Mathilde Boateng, 800 metre-runner Alex Amankwah, pole vaulter Jordan Yamoah, javelin thrower John Ampomah, decathlete Atsu Nyamadi and Julia Agawu.Athletics? A reason for hope?Last year, Team Ghana recorded its highest haul of medals at the African Athletics Championship since 2006. This is after the copped six medals at 19th African Athletics Championship in Marrakech, Morocco.And with that kind of form which saw the nation’s budding talents – most of them foreign based – blazing the trail, maybe some good may come from the All Africa Games.–Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith and Sani on @starboy_spily. Get more updates on Facebook/Twitter with the #JoySports hashtaglast_img

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