Sports News of Thursday, 18 August 2016
Source: Viwotor, Theodore M.K.
By Theodore M.K. Viwotor
If the failure of Ghanaian Olympians at Rio 2016 to shine is making Ghanaians worried over the image of Ghana, then there is much more ahead to be worried about in the upcoming Paralympic Games to begin from September 7.
The three Persons with Disability (PWDs), who would lift the flag of Ghana high in Rio, in separate interviews, have indicated their unhappiness at the poor treatment the nation has meted out to them ahead of the games and if care is not taken, they may consider a boycott of the Games to express their disgust at the discrimination against them.
Alem Mumuni (Paracycling), Charles Narh Teye (Power lifting) and Yusif Amadu (High Jump) are going into the Rio 2016 Games with some bitterness that needs to be assuaged early enough to strengthen their confidence and commitment to the national assignment ahead.
They are demanding an immediate refund of all monies they spent on their qualification to the Games, as well as increase in training allowances, qualification bonus and assurance of better per diems and motivational packages ahead of the beginning of the disability sports event.
The athletes are surprised at the way Disability Sports are neglected and PWDs are treated as inferior human beings even when they are sacrificing for the nation.
Charles Narh Teye, a double amputee, is hoping to lift his way to Ghana’s first medal in the games and is currently training in Louisiana, USA to fine-tune for the games.
Alem Mumuni, a polio victim and Ghana’s first cyclist at the games, who has also reigned as Africa’s C2 paracyclist for years, is aiming at registering his name in the history of the games and is also training in the US.
Yusi Amadu, currently in Ghana, is training with a pile of three mattresses on which he lands after jumping at training and the fact that he would be competing with others who train in sophisticated gyms and facilities tells how unserious the nation has been towards the Olympic and more so the Paralympic Games.
The pathetic state of the preparations towards the games, is casting dark shadows on the hopes of Ghana making an impact at Rio but the athletes are very hopeful to make a difference if these demands are met and drastic measures are quickly taken.
“We are not asking for anything extra; we have spent our own monies to qualify for Ghana with the support of friends and some sponsors so if we ask for a refund and motivation it is legitimate,” one of them stated, adding that, “how much did Ghana give to one Black Stars player for qualifying to the World Cup?”
“With all the monies they earn in football, no Black Stars player spends on his trips to play for Ghana and they even get qualification bonuses in addition to per diems and all. How much more those of us who have disability, why should we spend our own monies to represent Ghana? This is unfair and discriminatory,” another fumed.
Ghana will be represented by three athletes at this year’s Paralympic Games, one short of the four athletes to the London 2012 Games. Many athletes failed to qualify for their inability to participate in points-building events due to lack of funds.