Ghanaian sprinter Flings Owusu-Agyapong has expressed her dismay at the decision by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to not provide Ghana’s athletes with financial support ahead of the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar which ended earlier in October.
A letter from the Ministry, in response to an apparent request from the Athletics Association for financial support from the government for the 10-member team that would take part in the Championships has gone viral on social media.
The Sports Ministry stated in the letter that it had opted not to support the team, attributing its decision to “budgetary constraints.”
“We regret to inform you that due to budgetary constraints, the Ministry is unable to support you at this time. Counting on your usual cooperation in this regard”
The letter, which was dated 25th September, 2019, was posted on Twitter by star athlete Flings Owusu-Agyapong.
In a further tweet, Flings explained that the financial support which was sought by the GAA would have covered their per diems for the competition.
“This was supposed to be the budget they were supposed to release for us going into Doha. Upon GAA following up with the ministry they sent this letter. This is still the same per diem issue.”
Doha pain, money worries
Flings Owusu-Agyapong was part of Ghana’s women’s sprint relay team, along with Gemma Acheampong, Persis Williams Mensah and Hor Halitie, which finished 7th in the semi-final heats in Doha, with a time of 43.62s (a season’s best).
They were unlucky to have be placed in a very strong field along with Nigeria, Jamaica, Great Britain and China.
The mens’ team of Sean Safo-Antwi, Benjamin Azamati, Martin Owusu Antwi and Joseph Paul Amoah also ran a time of 38.24s, a season’s best for them but finished behind Great Britain, Brazil, USA, Italy and Jamaica in their heats
After the Championships, the athletes asked government to release per diems owed them for two competitions; the World Championships and the World Relays in Yokohama back in April.
The women’s quartet have represented the country in three competitions so far in 2019 and only once, at the African Games in Rabat, were their per diems paid.
Prior to all three competitions, the Ghana Athletics Federation was denied funding by the Ministry to camp the athletes for pre-competition training. Notwithstanding, they defied the odds by making it to the finals in Yokohama, which qualified them to the world championships.
Despite their impressive performances, the athletes’ per diems went unpaid, forcing them to speak out on social media.
The reaction from the public has largely been supportive of the athletes with many people criticising the government.
According to some people, funds are always found for the Black Stars even though the football side has not won a title in over three decades.