BY ANNETTE S. YEBOAH
GHANA’S PARTICIPATION in this year’s deaflympic in Turkey, which will start from Monday, July 17, 2017 to Sunday, July 30, 2017, may hit the rock as the Ghanaian team have been unable to secure funds and sponsorship for their participation in the competition.
Mr Oti-Asirifi Mensah, who is the national media coordinator for Ghana Deaf Sports Federation, told the DAILY HERITAGE by telephone from Takoradi on Friday the National Sports Authority (NSA) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) have failed to help them with finances.
He said letters and budgets sent to these two sports bodies last year were yet to receive attention and that he could sense that the government had rejected them.
According to him, they want to participate in the upcoming competition and that if the government cannot help them they should give them back their letters to look for funds from the corporate bodies and institutions in the country.
He disclosed that for over a decade the government had taken them out of the budget for Paralympics teams, which, to him, is a gross neglect from the government concerning disabled persons in the country.
He also recounted that in 2015, the last time they participated in the competition, the government refused to release funds. Therefore they had to hit the street and march to the seat of government before half of the budget was given to them to enable them to participate in the competition.
“We do not want that to happen again. Therefore, we are going to have some deliberation with them and I hope that something positive will come out from the meeting,” he said.
He expressed regret that the NSA was frustrating their efforts to get sponsors from the corporate world by delaying their cover letter, which will support their budget to seek sponsorship.
“They have refused to give us an introductory letter to the Turkish Embassy for our visas. Team Ghana is sleeping (not camping) in churches and halls of institutions. The athletics team is perching at Legon Hall of the University of Ghana in which we have to pay GH¢30.00 a day for a room. They run with no spikes and starters block,” he said.
He further said the beach volleyball team were sleeping on the Church of Pentecost premises in Takoradi and training with only one ball.
“All the other teams are living at the residence of an executive member of our federation at Mamprobi, a suburb of Accra. Not a single support in terms of money, food, equipment, from the government or anybody. No visit or a common telephone call by anyone,” he told.
According to him all finance is currently coming from the pockets of the national executives to foot their feeding, medical bills, and transportation among other basic things for the team Ghana.
The deaflympics is the aspect of the Olympic Games for the deaf in the world, which happens every four years and organised by the International Committee of Deaf Sports recognised by the International Olympic Committee.
Ghana’s chapter, called the Ghana Deaf Sports Federation, has Mr Jonathan Amoah, who is deaf, as its president, registered their participation in the Deaflympics in November 2015.
In October 2016, the federation presented their notice of participation and a summary of their budget for the Games to the sports ministry to be considered in the 2017 budget. On Monday, March 13, 2017, they presented their full budget to the MoYS through the NSA.
With barely eight days to the tournament, they have received a letter from the NSA that they [NSA] cannot sponsor Team Ghana because the government has no money.