You are here: HomeSportsAthletics2013 07 05Article 278727

Track & Field News of Friday, 5 July 2013

Source: citifmonline

Gaisah dumps Ghana for Holland

Long jumper Ignisious Gaisah has quit the national athletics team to join the Dutch national team with barely a month to the start of the World Championships in Moscow.

The Rotterdam based jumper has been one of Ghana’s premier athletes for almost a decade winning medals at World, Commonwealth and African Games, but seems to have run out of patience with the lack of progress within the athletics association.

“I have done my part for Ghana and now I must think about my future. I do not want to become one of those athletes who retire and have nothing to show for it nor has no support. Holland has been my home for 11 years and now I will compete for them” a bitter sounding Gaisah told Happy FM.

One of the top jumpers in the world at his peak, Gaisah has endured a frustrating few years with injuries and lack of competition and the lack of support he received from the Athletics Association seem to have pushed him.

“I spent three years out with injuries and did not even receive a phone call from anyone to check on my wellbeing. I paid my own bills until I recovered and I still competed for the nation”.

Gaisah has rediscovered some of his best form recently, jumping 8.12m two weeks ago.

Below is a copy of the letter he sent to Ghana Athletics Association (GAA)

Dear Sir, madam

As a young boy I moved to the Netherlands to follow my dream and become a top athlete. I started to live and train in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to make use of excellent sport facilities and good coaches. My plan worked out and due to the great guidance I became World Indoor Champion, Commonwealth Champion silver medalist at the world championships, and African champion. I did all of this for myself and for my country, as I performed all my championships as a proud Ghanaian athlete.

Since I have been living in the Netherlands for 12 years, now I have become part of the country and culture. I speak the language, I live here the whole year and, therefore, I applied for a Dutch passport to get the opportunity to stay here and finish my career with my Dutch team. After my track and field career I will stay in the Netherlands and follow a course to become a coach. In the future I hope to help Ghanaian young athletes to be the stars of the future.

Now I will become a Dutch citizen I would like to start competing for the Netherlands. It gives me the support from the Dutch Athletics Federation, financial support as well as the opportunity to make use of the facilities and medical team of the Federation. My coaches will get the chance to travel with me to the championships and to support me. It was a hard decisions but it will help me in my last years of my career to get everything out of it that I still feel is possible.

As the official rules state that an athlete cannot compete in an international tournament for two years when changing nationality unless the federation gives permission, I would like to ask you to consider my request to give me permission to compete for the Netherlands as soon as possible. As I won’t compete for many years anymore I would like to use the remaining years to go to the international tournaments and compete in the international circuit.

Without the permission it will be hard for me to continue my career since I need the tournaments for competition, but also to get into the bigger competitions in the international circuit. The Ghana federation has always been supportive to me and I hope they will keep on doing that by releasing me to the Dutch Athletics Federation.

I hope you will take into consideration that I have always been competing for Ghana in the highlight of my career and that my decision for Dutch citizenship is based on financial grounds and future opportunities. I will of course always be Ghanaian

Kind regards

Ignisious Gaisah