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Athletics Fest: 2007 Secondary School Athletics Championships

Fri, 10 Aug 2007 Source: --

Background:

In 2002, the Ghana Athletes Association was formed as an attempt by the elite national athletes to take personal responsibility for the success of the sport. The rationale for the formation of such an organization was that; in order for the sport to flourish in Ghana, the athletes, as individuals and as a group, had to play a constructive. The motto for the association is "OUR SPORT, OUR PASSION". Although today the organization is not as functional as it used to be due to a lack of participation by the current crop of elite athletes, several former athletes continue to work diligently to help develop and promote the sport.

For the past two years the focus has been on the development and promotion of athletics at the secondary school level. The rationale as articulated by individuals such as Professor Francis Dodoo and Andrew Owusu centers on the fact that the development of local athletes has been nonexistent for the past 7 years. In fact, there is strong evidence that the level of performance for local athletes has dropped considerably.

Help from Maria Tsakos Foundation

In 2004, within the framework of promoting sports in Ghana, the Maria Tsakos Foundation donated an amount of USD 50,000 towards the promotion and development of Athletics in Ghana. This Foundation was conceived by Captain P.N. Tsakos in the mid-1970s primarily to promote Greek culture and heritage. However, its philanthropic work extends beyond the latter. Capt. Tsakos, being an ardent sports enthusiast himself, took this step as he believes that Ghana has a lot of potential to reach a high international level. As such, for the past two years the Tsakos Foundation has sponsored the Ghana National Inter-Regional Athletics Competition. Funding has gone towards organization of the competition and prizes for the top three athletes in each event (26 total events for boys and girls). The Foundation’s liaison is Professor Andrew Owusu, former head of the Ghana Athletes Association.

2007: Taking it a Step Further

This year, the Tsakos Foundation has taken its support a notch higher. Based on consultations between the Foundation, Dr. Andrew Owusu, Mr. Ben Dzokoto (Ghana Education Service), Mr. Augustine Soga (technical advisor) and Mr. B.T. Baba (President, Ghana Olympic Committee), it has been decided that for the first time in the history of secondary school athletics, two national level competitions will be hosted to determine "the best of the best". Even more socially responsible is the fact that the foundation has donated an additional $10,000 to promote school health using sports as a foundation; specifically, the promotion of Ghana Education Service (GES) school-based HIV ALERT program. The first competition will be the “2007 Maria Tsakos Inter-Regional Secondary School Athletics Championships” in Koforidua (Aug 30th and 31st). The second event named the “2007 Maria Tsakos Invitational” will be held on the 21st and 22nd of September. The invitational will feature the top 12 secondary school athletes in the country in each event. Coincidentally, the latter competition will be the inaugural event at the newly refurbished El-Wak stadium in Accra. We anticipate that the event, will be the most significant secondary school athletics competition in the past 8 years.

Unprecedented Support from Ghanaian Media

The competition will have the most comprehensive press coverage of athletics since the 1997 Mobil Games. The following news organizations/outlets have agreed to promote and participant in the event; SWAG, Graphic, Peace FM, Happy FM, Ghana News Agency, Ghanaweb.com (past commitment), GTV (plus Radio) and KESSBEN FM. (Kumasi). (PRESS CORE CAN ADD TO THIS SECTION AS THEY SEE FIT)

Additional Support from Former Athletes

Five former national athletes have announced a new scholarship system to support the top 2 male and female secondary school student athletes. The scholarship will be known as the Henry Hagan Memorial Scholarship in honor of the former national star Henry Ato Hagan aka “Astro”. This initiative is part of the current effort by select former athletes to promote the sport at the 2nd cycle institution level. The current contributors to this scholarship are; Professor Andrew Owusu Ph.D. (long Jump/Triple Jump), Dr. Marc Dradozi (long jump/triple jump), Professor Christian Nsiah Ph.D. (100/200m), Mr. David Nti-Berko (Triple Jump) and, Professor George Darko Ph.D. (Triple Jump). However, these five individuals sincerely hope that other former athletes will consider contributing to this noble effort. For more information on Henry “Astro” Hagan, please visit http://prempeh.org/hagan.html.

Budget:

2007 Maria Tsakos National Inter-Regional Secondary School Athletics Championships (Koforidua)

Prizes (31 events):

First Place: $35

Second Place: $30

Third Place: $25 $90 Total ($90 X 31 events) $2790

2007 Maria Tsakos Invitational (Accra)

Prizes (31 events):

First Place: $50

Second Place: $35

Third Place: $25

$110

Total ($90 X 31 events) $3410

Best Performers

Track: Boy $50

Girl $50

Field: Boy $50

Girl $50

Best Overall Athlete Boy $50

Girl $50

Most Promising Young Athlete: $100 (MP3 Music Player)

Total for Prizes: $6,600

Organization: Including, travel, accommodation, feeding, facilities and equipment

Total: $9544

School Health Promotion $10000

Grand Total: $26,144 (¢234,139,200 or GH ¢ 23,413.92)

Funding Sources

Maria Tsakos: $20,000

GES: $6,144 + impress

Contacts

For more information please contact:

Dr. Andrew Owusu

Email: aowusu01@yahoo.com

Tel: +001-615-631-1277

Mr. Ben Dzokoto (GES Physical Education, Director and Competition Coordinator)

Email: benndzo@yahoo.com

Tel: + 233-20-8183805

Mr. Augustine Soga (Technical Advisor and Competition Manager)

Email: augustinesoga@yahoo.com

Tel: + 233-24-2143264

Source: --