The Secretary General of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Richard Akpokavie has revealed that the GOC contributed more than $200,000.00 towards sports development in the country last year.
According to him, the GOC through Olympic Solidarity spent an estimated $53,000 on four major technical courses for selected National Federations (NFs) while over $50,000 more was spent on four national athletes as part of their scholarship awards for their preparation towards the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
In addition to that the GOC, through the Commonwealth Games Federation, contributed $100,000 as preparation grants to aid Team Ghana’s preparations towards the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Richard Akpokavie gave an overview of the GOC’s activities in 2014 in an exclusive interview with the GOC official website, www.ghanaolympic.org
“2014 also gave us the opportunity to do a couple of courses. We had the sports administrator’s course; we had technical courses for coaches- for Rugby, Basketball and Athletics- and we had a major sports structure one for Weightlifting as well,” he said.
“It’s been exciting and we believe we have helped at least four federations this year to improve on their technical capacities. Going forward, every year, we will have some more people who will benefit from such courses.
“For all the courses we have held, we (the GOC) have fully funded this with support from the Olympic Solidarity.
“For the Weightlifting Course, we spent about $30,000. For the other courses like the athletics, rugby and basketball, we spent an average of $12,000 to $15,000. So that tells you that we have spent quite a bit on these associations.
Over hundred people made up of athletes, coaches, journalists and administrators have directly benefited from the training programmes embarked upon by the GOC through the Olympic Solidarity since 2012.
The GOC’s primary aim is to develop and protect the Olympic Movement in Ghana, and to promote the ideals of the Commonwealth Games in accordance with the Olympic Charter and the Constitution of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
He added, “This is in addition to what we gave to some federations as support towards the Commonwealth Games. We gave boxing, swimming, athletics, weightlifting, judo, table tennis, disabled sports, cycling; we gave all of them some form of support.
“In total we spent about $100,000.00 on preparation towards the Commonwealth Games, all of which went to support the federations and the athletes so they could deliver at the Games.
Team Ghana had mixed results in the year, winning a bronze medal each in Judo and Boxing at the Commonwealth Games, before the 17-year old Martha Bissah captured the imagination of the world with her spectacular gold medal winning feat in the 800m race at the Youth Olympics.
Mr. Akpokavie, who doubles as the President of the Ghana Hockey Federation, also said there were a lot of positives to take from Team Ghana’s performance overall last year.
“Year 2014 was an exciting year in many respects. Talking about highs and lows, we had three major competitions in terms of the African Youth Games, Commonwealth Games and the Youth Olympics.
“The performance at the African Youth Games was not bad because it was the first time and we were exposing our young athletes to that kind of competition. The Commonwealth Games did not go as well as we would have wanted, but many of the teams were really quite young.
“It could have been better. But the high point of the year for us was when we won a gold medal at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing. It reminded us that there is a lot more we can do and that there is a lot of potential in the country,” he summed up.
The local Olympic governing body uses sports to positively impact the lives of Ghanaians and build career paths for hardworking sportsmen and women.
The Ghana Olympic Committee has through Olympic Solidarity invested over $700,000 into Sports development in Ghana since 2012.
The training programmes included Technical Courses for Coaches, Sports Administration Courses, Coaching Development Scholarships, Athlete Development Scholarships, preparation Grants for Teams attending major competitions like the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and African Youth Games.