GHANA will be represented at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the President of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Prof. Francis Dodoo has declared.
Prof. Dodoo was reacting to a report that Ghana might pull out of the Olympic Games due to lack of funds.
The news comes after the GOC sponsored a team of Taekwondo players and officials to take part in the African Taekwondo Qualification tournament which ended in Agadir, Morocco last Sunday.
In sponsoring the team for the Olympic qualifier, the GOC went beyond its core mandate of leading Team Ghana to the Olympic Games after National Sports Federations and the National Sports Authority had prepared and supported the national teams to qualify for the games.
Earlier in January, the GOC held discussions with the various federations to gather information about their best prospects for Rio 2016 with the GOC, insisting it will assist athletes with the best prospects for Rio 2016 to qualify for the games.
Asked whether Ghana is considering to pull out of the games due to challenges over funds, the GOC President Prof. Francis Dodoo said:
“We are committed to making this Olympic dream of Ghanaian youth happen. We have a very healthy set of athletes right now so we are committed to making sure they do the best for Ghana.”
He said that government had been thoroughly briefed on the funding needed for the qualifiers and the games and thus wondered why anybody will jump into that conclusion.
“As far as we’re concerned, it is not time for anybody to make a determination that government is not going to be providing any funds. We were fortunate enough to be invited by the minister to be part of his entourage to meet the Parliamentary Select Committee on Sports last week.
The former national and African triple jump champion added: “They (Parliamentary Select Committee) heard us. They asked us what we thought the budgetary needs will be. They had some criticism and they had points of encouragements. We have given it to them. We are waiting to see what they will do so I think it is quite premature for anybody to be suggesting that the money is not coming.”
Prof. Dodoo said the statement on Ghana considering pulling out from the Olympics is already having an adverse effect on athletes preparing for the games.
“I have received at least a half dozen emails from athletes, some of whom are overseas-five overseas and one local- who were concerned that all the training they were doing was going to waste.
“So I think it is quite dangerous to make statements like that because you can easily kill the motivation of your athletes who are preparing.
“What I have done is I have told these athletes that there is no such government decision. I haven’t heard government make a statement to that effect.”
He was, however, hopeful that the right funding could be found to enable the athletes to attend the games in Rio.