Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says government will not renege on its commitment to increase investment in athletics and other lesser-known sports in the country.
He made the observation when he hosted and presented medals and trophies to winners of the 2022 National Cross-Country Competition organised by the National Sports Authority (NSA).
The National Cross-Country competition had been abandoned for over a decade, and its revival four years ago has created opportunities for young people to realise their talents in this marathon event.
“Sports has a major role to play in our country. The major benefit of sports is so underestimated and over the years governments have not really paid the requisite attention to sports. Maybe we turn to focus a lot on football but there are many other sports. When you look at many countries around the world, you’ll see for example that the sort of jobs that the sports industry creates is just massive.
“It’s just massive across the sports industry, the jobs that we create, the incomes that are generated. So it is very very important that as a country, we pay attention to sports, we invest in sports and we nurture sports so that we can have the benefits for this country,” Dr Bawumia said.
“Today is a very happy day. Having abandoned this for 10 years, we began it in 2017 and we are seeing some good results and so today is the day for these wonderful athletes, their coaches who have worked very very hard. You have to train, you just don’t win. You get up and you have to train over many, many months and years so that you can build the stamina that you will use to win these types of competitions.
“So we acknowledge you our dear athletes and coaches for an excellent performance. You are the best in Ghana. We are a country of some 30 million people and we needed to select people who will compete on behalf of our country at the forthcoming African Games in 2023, and so this was what we went out to do and you have been selected in that regard as the best amongst these 30 million people to come out and represent us.”
“This is the first time that we are having the awards at the Jubilee House and I think it’s a manifestation of the seriousness that the government is attaching to sports and to try and also motivate you to give off your best,” he added.
2022 National Cross Country ended successfully in Akim Oda with Central and Upper West regions clinching gold.
Themed ‘Running towards 2023’, the 2022 edition of the national 10-kilometre event saw 192 male and female athletes from all 16 regions across the country participating.
The race was organized to identify and unearth talents ahead of the 2023 African Games to be held in Ghana.
For the individual athletes, 2021 Asante Akyem marathon challenge winner William Amponsah from the Central Region clinched gold in the men’s category after clocking 28 mins 16 sec.
Koogo Atia of North East Region came second with a time of 29.25sec while Aziz Mohammed from the Central Region with a time of 29.47sec finished third.
For the women’s category, Lariba Juliara Sakat of the Upper East Region who also won the 2021 Asante Akyem marathon emerged winner in the women’s category with a time of 35mins 07sec.
Sherifa Moro, who’s a student of Amakwatia M/A in the Ashanti Region, came second with a time of 35.41sec and Titi Rosina of Upper West Region clocked 35.52sec to finish third.
Source: Modern Ghana