Sports Features of Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
The story of Ignisious Gaisah jumping to silver medal glory for no other country than his beloved Netherlands at the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow must give this beautiful, natural, realistic Coast of Gold food for thought.
In fact, we have missed the glorious services of a great personality and a great opportunity of seeing our name in letters of gold at such a world forum. And for sure, nobody was there to raise our flag to give us that boastful international ego.
The entire nation is disappointed at Ignisious Gaisah's nationality switch on the saddest note of not being given the barest minimum of support, perhaps apart from the huge publicity and the winning of SWAG awards for his fantastic effort at international championships.
We must bow our heads in shame for losing such an athlete, and thank God for him for that wonderful achievement in a major meet in Moscow which goes a long way to advertise that this country can still boast athletic gems who can make it big, given the needed financial support, among others. At least, The Netherlands have acknowledged our prowess.
We are not yet really sure of what is happening to our top athletes such as Margaret Simpson, Vida Anim, Eric Nkansah and others who, in recent times, made us happy with their performances, and what the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) did to bring them on board. Is it the same old story of financial constraints? What a hell!
Other African countries did a yeoman's job in Moscow with some unbelievable achievements. I am talking about Kenya, Ethiopia and others who won medals, especially in long distance events. We have known these countries and their consistent efforts to maintain the status quo.
Ghana's lone ranger, young Janet Amponsah, must be the saddest person on earth, considering the fact that the poor girl was alone in a field of top world athletes whose records were far ahead of hers in her 200 metres event. But after leaving no stone unturned in her effort to salvage her country from shame in the heats, she ended up finishing last among eight contestants. How many of her compatriots were there to cheer her up? Sports needs support!
Our arch rival sporting nations such as Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire were there with large contingents of athletes and we saw their names on the medal table after the first four days, a sign that our athletics that raised the ego of our country in the 60s and 70s have hit the rock and sank deep into the sea.
What is really happening? Many African countries that trailed us on any field are just wondering what is really ailing our land, for one could not imagine this low level of standards we have sunk into.
Of course, things that happened before and after that led to the unfortunate suspension of Ghana by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for two calendar years must have had a negative effect on our sports. How come that we woke up one morning to hear that, for the first time in the history of free Africa, a country like ours had been banned by the international body which controls over 250 federations. No wonder, things had to come to a standstill, thus affecting the training, preparation and progress of our anxious athletes. Meanwhile, activities of other countries were ongoing to the detriment of our dear land.
How can we wake up to challenge them? Did I hear the President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) and the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), Professor Francis Dodoo, say the other day on Happy FM that there was a generation gap between the past administration and what he came to inherit? What buck was he trying to pass? Has he not been in the centre of activities in the battle to throw the former administration out of office with no remorse for the ramifications?
What did the nation expect to happen when all the healthy norms in the election and appointment of a new body was thrown to the dogs and a new administration set was hand-picked to take over in the most clumsy manner? Have we forgotten that the world was watching us and passing derogatory comments on how things were being done in Ghana?
Does the passing of the buck not look like the eating of the forbidden fruit and the passing of the buck from Adam to Eve and finally the snake? What if the fruit had not been touched at all? In the meantime, it looks as if the re-engineering of our athletics has also hit a hard patch as the recent widely-advertised National Unity Games are facing challenges with so many excuses from officialdom.
Oh Gold Coast, come and see Ghana. Our elders have a saying that ‘it is not possible to feel the pains in your ribs immediately after throwing a stone across River Firaw,’ (the Twi name for River Volta). Indeed, as the decades pass by with leaders coming and going but with none capable of solving the perennial problem of downward trends economically, morally, physically, socially and sportingly, it is high time we realise that a land without a natural name is bound to suffer. But when shall we acknowledge that?
Looking at the endowment of wisdom in this land, one might be tempted to ask whether we will continue to make a mockery of ourselves as we prod along under the meaningless Ghana! Let's simply give glory to God in all things, including the natural name of our Lands! A word to the wise is enough. May God help us to learn better lessons from the departure of Ignisious Gaisah. God Bless!