Sports News of Wednesday, 13 December 2017
The president of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Ben Nunoo Mensah, has made a passionate appeal to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to act fast to save the career of Ghana’s sole Youth Olympics gold medalist, Martha Bissah, in the supreme interests of Ghana athletics.
The GOC boss said Martha had a lot of potential which could be beneficial to the country and therefore the ministry must not allow individual interests to destroy the young athlete’s future.
Mr Nunoo Mensah, told the Graphic Sports yesterday that Martha should be allowed to represent Ghana at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. He said the GOC, like the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), was an autonomous body, and, therefore, there was a limit to which it could go as far as dealing directly with the GAA in resolving the matter.
He, therefore, suggested that Martha initiated moves such as writing to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to ensure an amicable settlement of the dispute if she felt she was being treated unfairly.
“Martha is a telented young athlete with a great future, but it’s obvious her career could be jeopardised because of some people’s personal interests. I think the Ministry of Youth and Sports must act quickly in the supreme interests of Ghana athletics and for that matter Bissah,” a worried Nunoo Mensah stated.
Martha, according to Mr Nunoo Mensah, could not pinpoint specifically why the GAA had imposed sanctions on her, hence his advice to the budding athlete to pursue the matter at the IAAF if she thought the GAA had been unfair to her.
Martha was the first Ghanaian to win an Olympic gold medal at any level. She ran a new junior national record of 2:04.90 to win the 800m gold at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, in 2014.
The 19-year-old Ghanaian is currently majoring in Business Management on an athletic scholarship at the Norfolk State University (NSU) in Virginia, USA, where she was named in the 13-woman Cross Country Roster of the Spartans (as the NSU athletics team are called).
Last October, Martha became the toast of the MEAC Cross Country Championship course in MEAC when she made a record time, winning the individual conference title to help the Spartan women place third overall.
Martha covered the 5,000-metre course in a personal best time of 17 minutes, 16.3 seconds, outracing her closest competition by more than 22 seconds, as Hampton’s Faith Keitany was runner-up in 17:38.6.
She was, one of four Spartans to run personal records and earn All-MEAC honours by placing in the top 15. She becomes the first NSU female to win the MEAC individual cross country gold medal since Agatha Gitundu in 2001.