Youth and Sports Minister, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye has appealed to the Management of Nestle Ghana Limited to take up the sponsorship of the national Inter-Schools and Colleges Athletics Competition, popularly called Inter-co.
He pointed out that in the past it was the inter-co meetings that made Ghana athletics tick as it served as the breeding ground for unearthing budding talents who blossomed into national champions. However, he said the competition no longer functions as it used to be as a result of financial constraints.
The Minister, who is also Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo constituency in Accra was speaking during a tour of the Nestle Ghana factory in Tema on Thursday, and recalled a list of national athletes who came to the limelight as a result of the exposure at the inter-schools championships. [Click to see photos of the tour]
Also on the tour was the Deputy Education Minister, Alex Kyeremeh and officials of the two ministries.
“The schools are where we get the champions”, he said, emphasizing that the competition has lost its vibe since oil marketing firm, Mobil, withdrew its sponsorship.
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Nii Lantey said as a result of the lack of high level competition, national athletes who currently are able to make qualifying marks for international engagements are usually based outside of the country, a challenge that he said should be tackled at home to groom local talents.
The national inter-co championships in the past pitched the best athletes in various disciplines from zonal competitions across the country against each other and from which the best were picked for the national teams.
Responding to the request, the Managing Director of Nestle Ghana, Madam Freda Duplan welcomed the invitation. She said however that coming after the company’s post-budget period, Nestle could only make a modest contribution towards this year’s national competition if it came on, but would give the request a fuller consideration for next year.
“We will look into it. We will do whatever we can do even if in a small way for this year so that next year we take a proper look”, she assured.
Nestle sponsors a number of sporting events in Ghana, including the annual Accra Milo Marathon which has been consistently held for nearly 30 years; the Milo U-13 Champions League organized in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service and endorsed by the Ghana Football Association for basic schools, as well as the Nestle Free Run, a fun event held as part of the Milo Marathon where individuals who participate and finish the marathon are deemed to have automatically contributed a shoe donation to selected rural communities.