Track & Field News of Wednesday, 11 July 2012
The Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) has said veteran sprinter Aziz Zakari failed to meet conditions set out by the Association for qualification and participation in the London 2012 Olympic Games, hence the decision to drop him from the Team Ghana squad for the sprints event..
Bawa Fuseini, General Secretary of the GAA told the GNA Sports in Accra on Wednesday that, his outfit at the beginning of the year informed all athletes that aside making the time for the Olympics Games, they must participate in the National Athletics Championships, African Championships and the rlg Grand Prix as part of the conditions for qualification and participation.
He however noted that, Zakari who inspired the relay team at the 2011 All Africa Games to win a silver medal, failed to compete in all the three events, hence the decision of the GAA to drop him from the team.
The General Secretary emphasized that all athletes, both local and foreign were obliged to participate in the three events and this was made clear to them, adding that it was a move to improve the sport on the local scene through the participation of international athletes in the national championships.
Fuseini said the GAA has plans of enhancing the image of the sport in Ghana and one of the measures was to ensure that international athletes participate in the national events, since it could also enhance the chances of the GAA in securing corporate sponsorship for the sport.
The General Secretary added that, the conditions were not peculiar to Ghana, but other nations such as South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Jamaica among others have applied the same conditions to their international athletes.
Fuseini denied assertions that Zakari has never been in the good books of the GAA hence the decision to drop him from the Team Ghana.
“Athletes like Tim Abeyie have done worse things than Zakari, but he is part of the squad.
“The decision was purely a policy we applied and not an attempt to victimize anybody.” He stated.
Zakari, one of the longest serving national athletes in Ghana was excluded from the final team of athletes that will compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games by the GAA.
The veteran athlete has since questioned his absence from the team despite making 10.23secs. at an athletics meet in New Jersey, United States of America (USA).**