Track & Field News of Monday, 1 October 2012
The next Olympic Games billed for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil might be four years away, but for the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), a country is as good as the level of preparations for the quadrennial gathering.
After Team Ghana returned home from the London Olympic Games empty, the GAA are concerned about overturning the trend in four years at the next competition slated for Brazil in 2016.
Bawa Fuseini, General Secretary of GAA told GNA Sports his outfit seeks to fashion out several programmes aimed at gifting Ghana enough preparation and talent for the ensuing years to fit into the larger plan of excelling at the next Olympics.
“We are trying to change our mode of selection into the national team. Previously, we only invited the regional teams to compete at the national level to aid selection into the national team. But this time we want to give more athletes a chance by organizing competitions at the district level, through to the regional and the national.
“We realize that some of the athletes who are far from the capital in small towns and villages are usually left out. But that is what we are trying to halt and give all talents enough chance. It means every athlete will have three opportunities to make it to the national team per our new policy.”
He said the innovation scheduled to take off next year is expected to begin with the district competitions in January and the Regional event in February before the national gathering that will serve the final selection.
The final team, according to the General Secretary, will undergo long camping sessions in their quest to build a strong team ahead of the African Junior Championship in Kigali, Rwanda plus other events.
He said the focal point is to build a strong junior team serving as the feeder team for the senior team, which he concedes is aging.
“Granting the younger athletes that much exposure is a fine way of preparing them for what is ahead of them and getting them ready to compete for the nation. Often, for most of them, it is good enough to get called up.
“Competition especially for the country goes beyond that. That also will serve as the transition point to the senior team and also get more junior athletes to hold together the team.
“Few years ago, we only had Aziz Zakari as the only senior athlete running just at 10.2s. The closest was making 10.6s and there was no junior athlete to offer them competition. With the chain of supply available, we could do very well as a country and this is what we are trying to depart from.”
Meanwhile, the GAA is expected to announce their selection criteria next year.