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Track & Field News of Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Source: erasmus kwaw

GAA President: I have no problem with Nukpezah

GAA President: I have no problem with the NSA’s former Chief Athletics Coach Albert Nukpezah

Contrary to public perception that he is at loggerheads with the former National Sports Authority Chief Athletics Coach, Albert Nukpezah, Ghana Athletics Association President Prof. Francis Dodoo has said he has no problems with the latter.

Nukpezah, who is on a one year contract with the NSA, expressed his disagreement with a decision not to include him in Team Ghana’s contingent for the recent Commonwealth Games, and the selection criteria used in selecting athletes into the national team, raising a lot of eyebrows.
But the GAA boss has shot down suggestions that Nukpezah is unaware of the selection criteria used in selecting athletes and officials for major competitions, saying his administration has always released its selection criteria at the beginning of the year, with 2014 not being an exception.
There were some suggestions of a rift between the two men following Nukpesah’s allegations but Prof. Dodoo says there is no bad blood between them.

“I do not have a problem with NSA Chief Athletics coach. I made a campaign promise to reward our regional coaches and administrators who are responsible for developing the grassroots in the regions and that is what we are doing,” he said on Asempa Fm’s “Fire for Fire programme.”

The former national triple jump champion added that Nukpezah travelled seven times in the last four years, which is the highest by an official of the GAA under his administration.

“Our national teams have been accompanied by coaches and officials from the regions since 2010. Albert Nukpezah has travelled more than me in the last four years.”
The GAA boss disclosed that the trips included the 2009 African Youth Championships in Senegal, 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010, African Seniors Championships in Kenya 2010, ECOWAS Games in 2010, World Championships in Daegu 2011 and the All African Games in Maputo in 2011.

Asked how his administration has been selecting athletes for major competitions in the last few years, Prof. Dodoo explained that it was always his dream to clean up the old selection process which lacked fairness and disenfranchised athletes, noting there were peculiar problems with national team selections in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

“We decided to scrap the old way of selection into the national team, where about three people made the final team selections because it was unfair.”
“Apart from meeting the selection standards, athletes needed to prove fitness and also compete in the national trial, among others.

“My plan was to make selection into the national team fair. I have not heard any athlete complaining about unfair selection.”

On the specific case of sprinter Aziz Zakari, who was dropped from Team Ghana ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Prof. Dodoo said: “Aziz Zakari met the qualifying time (doubtful timing according to the IAAF) in 2012 but failed the rest of the selection criteria. He dropped himself from the national team.”

Meanwhile, contrary to the story making rounds on radio, the primary reason Aziz was not on the national team for the 2012 Olympics was because IAAF refused to accept his time (performance).

This can easily be verified by logging onto http://www.iaaf.org/records/toplists/sprints/100-metres/outdoor/men/senior/2012 and scrolling to the bottom of the page where the time (performance) Aziz submitted to GAA as proof of meeting the qualification standard was classified by IAAF as “UNOFFICIAL TIMING SYSTEM”.
Below is a list of accomplishment by the Prof. Francis Dodoo led Ghana Athletics Association since assuming office in 2009:

• $1,800,000 of Independently verified input (direct and in-direct) into athletics development
o Sponsorship (competitions, development fund, and programs)
o Scholarships - $800,000
• 12 National Records in 2010 – 2014 (seniors and juniors); more national records in the past 4 yrs years than in the 15 years prior.
1. Javelin – John Ampomah [2012, 2013, 2014]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/ghana/john-ampomah-275101
2. 200m (indoor) – Janet Amponsah [2014]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/ghana/janet-amponsah-248873
3. Decathlon – Atsu Nyamadi [2014]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/ghana/atsu-nyamadi-258737
4. Discus – Julia Agawu [2013]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/ghana/julia-agawu-282071
5. Triple Jump (indoor) – Mathilde Boateng [2014]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/ghana/mathilde-boateng-242671
6. Triple Jump (outdoor) – Nadia Eke [2014]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/ghana/nadia-eke-273535
7. 800m (YOUTH) – Martha Bissah [2014]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/ghana/martha-bissah-291895
8. Pole Vault – Jordan Yamoah [2013]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/ghana/jordan-yamoah-274670
9. Shot put – Kwabena Keene [2012]
? http://www.all-athletics.com/node/322456
10. Discus – Kwabena Keene [2010]
? http://www.all-athletics.com/node/322456
11. 110MH – Keith Nkrumah [2013]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.all-athletics.com/node/321412
12. Hammer Throw (women) – Linda Benin [2012]
? IAAF Profile - http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/ghana/linda-benin-239571

• More athletes ranked in the top 20 in Africa this year [2014] than in any of the preceding 15 years.
• Second-most medals ever at an African Championships by the youngest team (average age) ever presented by Ghana; 12 medalists came home from the African Championships that occurred quietly one week after the Commonwealth Games ended, with medals in 6 events (individual and relays), and there were FOUR 4th place finishes to boot. Medalists: 8 relay runners, 2 multi-event athletes, one javelin thrower, and one triple jumper)
o 6th Place finish based on points. Every single team that finished ahead of Ghana on points had a team much larger than that of Ghana.
• 15 athletes have received scholarships to continue their education and training in the United States in the last two years; more athletes on scholarship in 2 years than in the previous 20 years combined at an estimated worth of over $800,000 in 4 years.
o 8 scholarship offers secured for 2015 (pending athletes passing WASSCE exam)
• Total of 20 juniors qualified for the World Junior Championships in 2012 and 2014; prior to 2012, we had never qualified more than one per gender per year.
• Home-based athletes performing at levels not seen in the past 15 years (Martha Bissah [our first-ever Olympic Gold medalist at the Youth Olympics; Solomon Afful at 20.85 secs ELECTRONIC, the fastest ever 200m race by a home-based Ghanaian; John O’Brien 46.91 secs, 400m; Vivian Mills 53.04 secs, 400m; thirteen 400m men running at 47.99 secs or faster; thirteen 200m women at 24 seconds and below, and the list goes on].
o 11 of the 25 athletes on the 2014 commonwealth games team were home-based; another 8 left Ghana only in 2013 or 2014.
• Open and transparent selection process. Gone are the days when coaches and administrators would huddle in dark rooms picking favorite athletes and others from whom they could get “favors”. Since 2010, at the start of each year, GAA publishes a publicly available “Selection Policy and Qualifications Standards” document which ensures that for individual events, ONLY athletes can select themselves onto a national team by meeting qualification standards.
• National Championships at the multiple levels; Youth (Cowbell-sponsored), Juniors (Tsakos-sponsored), Senior (multiple sponsors).
• A domestic athletics circuit, which combined with an Open tour produced 8 competitions for Ghana-based athletes in 2014.
o Domestic circuit took athletes to 4 regions, and promises another 5 regions in 2015, breaking the monotony of Accra/Kumasi competitions
• Competitions not just in Accra and Kumasi, but also in Wa, Tamale, Takoradi, Koforidua, with plans to extend to Bolgatanga, Ho, and other places in 2015.
• First ever, international permit (CAA/IAAF) competition in Ghana
• Two successful world-class Grand Prix competitions, which brought athletes from at least a dozen different countries, including Jamaica, USA, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, France, etc.
• On-going grassroots Kid’s Athletics (IAAF/Nestle) program
o Over 500 Kid Athletics coaches will be trained by 2016
o Over 200,000 school children will be reached by 2016
• Purchase of over $100,000 of electronic timing equipment giving Ghana the ability to host international championships events.
• Most ever number of athletes qualified (individual events) to represent Africa at the Youth Olympics (2 in 2014), World Junior Championships (12 in 2012 and 8 in 2014) and the IAAF Continental Cup (3 in 2014) (Formerly World Cup in Athletics)
• 6 National Training Camps in past 3 years: 2011 (Finland), 2012 (Accra & London), 2013 (Accra), 2014 (Accra and Scotland)
• Within Country (Ghana) Training Courses for Officials
o Officiating course (2011)
o IAAF Level 1 coaching course (Dec 2014)

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