Para athletes appeal to Ministry, GOC for support

Author: Peter Sarbah
Botsyo Nkegbe, a wheelchair racing athlete
Botsyo Nkegbe, a wheelchair racing athlete

The nation’s top para athletes have sent an SOS message to the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) to rescue them from the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They explained that they had run out of money as they continue to invest in their personal training towards the next Paralympics slated for Tokyo next year.

Helping hand
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the athletes, led by Botsyo Nkegbe, a wheelchair racing athlete, appealed to the sports authorities to extend a helping hand to particularly athletes who have qualified for the Olympic Games and the Paralympics to enable them to train since the outbreak of the pandemic had blocked all their sources of funding.

''I hope if there can be some form of support from the Ministry of Youth and Sports or the National Paralympic Committee, it will go a long way to help the athletes who have qualified for the Olympics and Paralympics.

''We still need to train and all that goes with finance which currently is not available,'' Nkegbe stated.

Preparation for Paralympics
According to the veteran athlete, who has also qualified to participate in next year’s Paralympics, even though the competition has been rescheduled due to the coronavirus, they needed to maintain the pace of their training regimen to remain fit for the competition.

He said the financial support would go a long way to motivate them as they continue with their preparation for the Games.

''Support in cash or kind to motivate these athletes who have put in a lot of effort during the qualifiers and they still will be training, hoping to be in good shape for next year'', the para athlete appealed further.

Loss of sponsorship
He, however, bemoaned how he had lost his sponsors due to the pandemic and that although some had promised to come back after the pandemic, support from the sports authorities was urgently needed to keep them afloat in these difficult times.

''It has affected my sponsorship big time and my training plans. I'm trying to be tough mentally at the moment because I'm an elite athlete as some of them (sponsors) say they will reconsider us after the pandemic is over,” he added.