President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says he is very determined to revive athletics as a sports discipline in the country.
Addressing veteran Olympic athletes at the Jubilee House when they paid a courtesy call on him, Akufo-Addo said a few years back, Ghana had a great reputation in athletics. However, countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Jamaica and in recent times, Nigeria are those who have the bragging rights in the field of athletics now. This the President said that ought to change and he is determined to champion the process of change for Ghana.
“You read about athletics in the world and hear about Jamaica, South Africa, you hear about Nigeria, you hear about Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia and increasingly now you hear about South Africa but you don’t hear about Ghana. The time has come for us to do something about it. Athletics has not been on the radar of sports administration in this country for a long time, but I am determined to bring it back” Akufo Addo said.
Leader of the delegation and head of the Ghana’s Fastest Human initiative, Rex Brobby, in his submission to the President said Ghana has not been able to qualify for the Olympics since the rules of qualification was changed by the governing body of the Olympic games. However, the Ghana’s Fastest Human initiative has begun an ‘Operation Quality Ghana to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games’ agenda and they will be glad to receive direct assistance from government for their project.
Mr. Brobby indicated that the initiative has a total of seven (7) athletes, five (5) foreign-based and two (2) locally based in Ghana, who will be seeking qualification to represent Ghana during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) he added, has pledged to support the seven athletes with $100,000.00 dollars. Akufo Addo welcomed the interest demonstrated by GNPC for the Ghana’s Fastest Human initiative. He assured the veteran Olympic athletes that his administration will find additional ways to increase the sponsorship package for the initiative.
The former athletes who constituted the delegation that visited with the President were, Rex Brobby, Alice Anum, Hannah Afriyie, Mike Ahey, Oko Addy, Ohene Karikari and Emmanuel Tuffour.
All seven (7) veteran Olympic athletes were given the opportunity to make a two-minute statement to the President on issues that are bothering them.
They amongst others called on the President to find appropriate ways to honour them for their contributions to the development of athletics as a sports discipline in Ghana.