PARALYMPICS’ athletes will constitute the core of Ghana’s team to the 2016 Olympic Games schedule for Rio in Brazil, Deputy Director General, (Technical) of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Saka Acquaye, has said.
According to the veteran sports administrator, the time has come for Ghana as a country to look at disciplines that win medals for the country and present them at such high profile games and move away from the era where preference is given to disciplines with no track record.
Addressing a section of Paralympics athletes at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday where he represented the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed and Joe Kpenge, Director General of the NSA at the National Paralympic sports festival, Mr. Acquaye, pointed out that wheelchair athletes have won a huge number of medals for the nation in most of the international championships.
“At this moment in time when Ghana appears to be struggling, wheelchair athletes offer hope for Ghana sports. You have done it before and I trust you still have what it takes to do more.”
“At the All Africa Games, the para-athletes have done Ghana proud many times by winning some of the biggest prizes. At the Olympics, the story is the same. While we spend so much on football and get virtually nothing, we relegate you (Para-athletes) to the background, only for you to prove us wrong by winning the medals.”
“That must change with the Rio Games. The authorities must support this agenda. The essence for these games is to win medals but we spend on athletes that go and not win anything.”
Mr. Acquaye, a veteran swimmer said the likes of Botsyo Nkegbe, Alem Mumuni, Ajara Mohammed, McClean Dzidzornu and others have all made Ghana proud by winning medals, making a bold statement for the wheelchair athletes.
“And as a country, we must make a bold approach in this regard. You (wheelchair athletes) have constantly demonstrated that when you are given the needed push, you can perform at the highest level. This is what we must be looking at now. You will go to Rio in your numbers because I am confident you can replicate the previous shows that won us the medals.”
By Andrew Nortey