Track & Field News of Wednesday, 20 July 2016
The coordinator for Ghanaian athletes abroad at the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), Andrew Owusu, has rubbished claims that the competition organised in Cape Coast by the GAA that saw 16 athletes qualify for the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio was fraudulent.
A former chairman of the GAA, George Lutterodt, in a Facebook post, called on the association to come clean on allegations that Ghana’s Olympic qualifiers at Cape Coast were fraudulent and had been reported to the International Olympic Committee and the IAAF.
This sparked concerns from the qualified athletes and raised eyebrows about whether or not the 16 qualified athletes did so on merit.
But speaking to Accra Sports’ S. K Ameyaw on Accra 100.5FM Tuesday, July 19, Mr Owusu said those rumours were false and needed to be discarded.
“It is untrue. The painful bit is the people behind this false information are people who are against athletics. About one week ago, the Confederation of African Athletics wrote to the GAA that they had information some people from Ghana were trying to undermine the qualifying competition that went on in Cape Coast, so they asked for the photo finish information and videos and invitation letters we sent to other countries to partake in the competition,” he stated.
“All these information were sent to them and they wondered why someone will want to sabotage Ghana’s qualification and the good work done by the GAA. … It is painful that instead of encouraging and applauding the athletes for such outstanding performances, someone is undermining them.”
Mr Owusu said the evidence concerning the qualifiers in Cape Coast, which was sent to the IAAF was genuine, and was, thus, surprised Mr Lutterodt would fuel such false allegations. “Why will someone do that? Politics…it is sad someone like George Lutterodt, who is a past GAA chairman, would do that. … The photo finish file, when printed, has the time of the finish of the race at the bottom, so no athlete can lie about his time. We sent all that evidence to the IAAF, which responded with an email to congratulate the GAA and said the evidence matched the time reported,” he stated.
Mr Owusu noted that those involved in the speculation were people who hoped the GAA would fail to qualify enough athletes for the games.
“I suspect the rumour mongers are doing politics from the GOC and the race for the presidency at the GAA. What people have started speculating is that prior to Cape Coast, we had only three athletes that had qualified to Rio. People had made up their minds to criticise the GAA for qualifying only three athletes and to say we have failed but we went to Cape Coast and a total of 16 athletes were able to qualify and now they are here to say the performance and qualification were fraudulent,” the former long jumper said.