A former chairman of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), George Haldane Lutterodt, has demanded the immediate resignation of the current GAA executives and the coaching staff of the national athletics team for supervising Ghana’s disqualification from the 4x100m at the just-ended Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
While congratulating the Ghanaian athletes who hoisted the national flag high at the Birmingham Games, Mr Lutterodt called for a quick review of Ghana’s abysmal performance at the event to avert another disaster at the African Games in Ghana next year.
He noted that athletics fans and stakeholders in the country had no confidence in any enquiry being set up to investigate what went wrong in Ghana‘s disqualification at the Commonwealth Games.
Mr Lutterodt, therefore, called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, to ignore the so-called apology rendered by the leadership of the GAA and demand their immediate resignation.
“Heads must roll indeed; in 1996 when a similar fiasco happened at the Atlanta Olympics due to the incompetence of the athletics association officials, the association was disbanded soon after their return. So there is precedence.
“The GAA apology is not worth the paper it’s written on. Actions have consequences and the GAA must do the honourable thing by resigning after making the nation a laughing stock in the world,” an upset Mr Lutterodt told the Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview.
Team Ghana missed a good opportunity to add to its five-medal tally when the men’s 4x100m relay team were disqualified for a technical violation despite placing third overall prior to the final.
In a subsequent apology, the GAA explained that the technical reason for the disqualification of the men’s 4X100m team was per World Athletics Rule TR 24.11.
“In short, only athletes whose names are on the final confirmation form as starters can run during the competition. Ghana originally submitted its 4x100m final confirmation list of four starters and a reserve about 14 hours before the start of the race on August 5.
“Joseph Amoah, who was originally listed as a starter was subsequently ruled out of participating in the semi-final of the 4x100m on the morning of August 6. However, in what we can only describe as an unfortunate oversight, Joseph’s withdrawal was not transmitted in time to the Technical Information Center (TIC) by our coaching crew as intended before the race,” it said.
“GAA is currently engaging major stakeholders on the matter since there are valuable logistical lessons to be learned from this unfortunate outcome,” the statement added.
However, Mr Lutterodt insisted that, “This is why the GAA executives and the current coaches must immediately resign because these athletes have lost confidence in them”.
He also called on the Sports Minister to kick out all unqualified and non-elected persons from the GAA.
Mr Lutterodt, during whose tenure Ghana won the most medals at the All Africa Games in Abuja in 2003, said the errors committed by this current GAA were too many to be forgiven.
“Since they took office over a decade ago, it has been one error after another and this has brought the nation too many embarrassment; it is time they go,” he stressed.
He called for a paradigm shift in the way athletics was run in the country and stressed the need for more investment in the sport.