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Discipline News >> Special Olympics
Rescind decision on Paralympics - GSDP urges Ministry

THE sports wing of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSDP) has urged the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MoESS) to reconsider its decision not to sponsor Ghana's team for this year's Paralympics.

It has also urged the MoESS to consider cutting down on the number of the contingent if the size is too expensive to fund or as an alternative, the ministry should seek for further financial support to enable Ghana's team make an appearance at the Paralympics to be staged in China beginning this weekend.


Reacting to a Daily Graphic story carried last week that there would be no Paralympics for Ghana, Mr. Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, Chairman of the GDSP Sports, at a press conference held last Friday, also appealed to corporate Ghana and well-meaning Ghanaians to generously provide some financial support to help raise money to the $90,000 needed to purchase tickets, as well as provide allowances for the two athletes, a coach, a medical officer and an official scheduled to make the trip to Beijing, China.


Mr. Mohammed expressed surprise that the MoESS had refused to sponsor Ghana's Paralympics Team because none of the two athletes qualified but had been given wild cards to participate.


"It is not true that a wild card does not qualify an athlete for a medal as said by the ministry and that taking part on wild card would be a non-scoring event at the Games.


"Wild card is given to, especially, countries that have difficulty taking part in at least two world championships sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) but meet the minimum requirements and have a potential to make a difference in the Games.


"It is a special intervention by the IPC to help developing countries and it does not indicate that one is participating on a non-scoring basis. Every athlete competing in the Games has equal chance of winning medals like-others, except that wild card holders are offered limited events;" Mr. Mohammed explained.


He further explained that Ghana was offered the wild card because its leaders failed to put in place the necessary measures that would enable her qualify and also failed to pay Ghana's membership dues of the IPC on time and to present any athlete at any of the IPC-sanctioned world championships.


"The fact that Ghana is a wild card country has no bearing on their inability to win a medal contrary to what is being portrayed to the Ghanaian - public but.. it is because the IPC recognises the importance of Ghana's presence in the Beijing Games".


The Chairman explained that the society started organising disability sports with the help of other partners, Johny and Friends Organisation, Jean Driscoll's


'Determined to Win Inc. from the United States of America, Danish Sports Organisation for the Disabled and USAID-Ghana who have continued to support the athletes with training and equipment, including the current Ghana Paralympics Team.


Botsyo Nkegbe, one of the two athletes to have traveled to Beijing, - explained that they were capable of winning medals for the country even with their wild card status since they had adequately prepared for their events and were better placed to bring laurels to the country at the Paralympics Games.


Last week, the Daily Graphic reported that the MoESS would not sponsor the Paralympic Team to the Games because the athletes were only going to participate on wild cards.


Ajara Mohammed and Botsyo Nkegbe were given the green light by the IPC to participate in Games but as it turned out, only Nkegbe had been certified by the IPC but he would have undergone further testing in Beijing before being allowed to compete.


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