A former chairman of the Ghana Athletics Association, (GAA), Sandy Osei-Agyeman, says Ghana will not make any significant impact in global athletics competitions if it does not invest heavily in resources and talent management.
According to him, the country has for a very long time failed to invest adequately in athletics and many other sports, but continues to expect outstanding performances from its athletes.
He said deliberate systems and efforts must be put in place to prepare the country’s athletes to become medalists on the world stage.
Speaking on Citi TV’s The Big Issue on Saturday, Mr. Osei-Agyeman lamented the fact that inter-school competitions, bilateral games, and athletic camps that used to be commonplace many years ago for the purposes of identifying and grooming sporting talents are no longer done actively.
“Here in Ghana, the tendency is that you are on your own and when you are on your own, there isn’t much you can do. If you are an athlete in Ghana, who do you compete with? Things that we used to do in my time, where we had bilateral games have stopped, and in addition to what has happened to the school sports, it doesn’t benefit us. We need a strategic plan and a blueprint. Let’s start with a good stadium and good facilities. We used to have camps, where we take all the athletes and for three to four weeks they train together. That is how we can build athletics. We don’t build anything, yet we expect to get results,” he said.
The 1972 Munich Olympics 100-metre runner was reacting to Ghana’s performance at the Tokyo2020 Olympics.
Ghana only secured one medal, bronze, which came from a young boxer, Samuel Takyi after 29 years.
Despite high hopes for the athletics team, which had performed very well at the continental level, Ghana could not annex any medal.
Sandy Osei-Agyeman said for as many of the Olympic sporting events as possible, Ghana must draw strategies and work towards the goal of winning a medal in the coming Olympics.
He stressed that Ghana has adequate talents, but there is the need to invest in finding these talents and grooming them to prepare them to be medallists on the world stage for Ghana.
“There has to be an academy of some sort so that when the athletes go on school break, they come, train and compete. The talents are there. Let’s find them and find a way that we can get them together regularly to train them as they grow. That way you don’t lose the talent. That will be the best way, so you know that you have an incubator of talents. If it is not done, we’ll just be going back and forth,” he said.