Former athletics boss asks for probe into Martha Bissah ban

BY: Kwame Larweh
Martha Bissah

Barely six months after enrolling at the Norfolk State University (NSU) on a sporting scholarship, former Youth Olympic gold medallist Martha Bissah has shone early after being adjudged Female Athlete of the Year at the Spartans’ athletics department’s end-of-year awards ceremony last Monday.

Meanwhile, the young athlete’s benefactor and former national athletics chief, George Haldane Lutterodt, has entreated the president of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Ben Nunoo Mensah, to open an inquiry into the suspension of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics 800m gold medallist from the national team.

According to Lutterodt, who sponsored Martha to the United State (US), the bizarre circumstances under which the athlete was thrown out of the national team needed to be probed with a proper committee of enquiry.

“An enquiry must be launched to hear Martha’s side of the case, the side of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), led by Prof. Francis Dodoo, and the truth,” he stated.

Mr Lutterodt, who was GAA chairman from 2001 to 2001, told the Graphic Sports that punitive measures must be instituted against those found culpable in the committee’s report.

He noted his request followed a similar enquiry which was instituted by South Africa to look into the gender of Olympic gold medallist and 800m runner, Caster Semenya, a few years ago. That probe, he added, led to changes in the administration of Athletics in South Africa (ASA) and the dismissal of some culprits by the South Africa Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

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The sports enthusiast cautioned Mr Nunoo Mensah not to handle the issue as business as usual, where Martha would just be invited back into the team without seeking answers for wrongs made by certain individuals in the past.

“The young girl became traumatised, suffered and nearly had a breakdown and, it is appropriate an enquiry is launched to ascertain the truth about what really happened,” he said..