If anyone had expected Team Ghana to return from the IAAF World Championships in London with medals, in spite of our lean contingent, that person has been left disappointed, as the performance of our athletes did not take them beyond the qualifying rounds.
But that should come as no surprise to anyone at all, given what was put in as preparations for the championships.
Nadia Eke failed to go past the qualifying round in the women’s triple jump; Emmanuel Dasor picked an injury and, therefore, could not compete in his event, while Alex Amankwah finished fourth in his heat to miss qualification to the next round.
As disappointing as the performance of Team Ghana may seem, what happened to the athletes in London illustrates the saying: “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
Indeed, preparations by the athletes were nothing to write home about and it was obvious that the purpose of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) for our participation was to give the athletes exposure and not really to return with any medals.
The IAAF championships are athletics’ World Cup and not easy to win, given the heavyweights who come challenging for places on the podium in their events. However, in striving to participate in such competitions, there should always be set objectives and targets.
As we are left to ponder over another poor showing by Ghana athletics at the London 2017 Championships, it is important to ask some pertinent questions: Was there a main objective for Ghana’s participation? If there was, what was the plan to achieve those objectives? And what was the motivation for sending the athletes to London?
Team Ghana’s participation in the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio, Brazil, was obviously to give the sportsmen the exposure, and so that could not be the same objective for London 2017. It is also unacceptable to suggest that the target for London 2017 was to help the athletes achieve their personal bests.
Ghana’s participation in international competitions has brought us nothing but disappointment. Unfortunately, such disappointment always comes at great financial cost.
Perhaps it is about time the GAA faced the same scrutiny and criticism that the Ghana Football Association is made to face any time a national football team fails to shine on the international stage.
Or is it that because we do not help the athletes to prepare well, we deny ourselves the moral right to criticise their poor showing?
The GAA has always been crying for financial support for the athletes, but we dare ask: what is the association doing to attract such support, since, at the moment, there is nothing to convince any organisation to invest its hope and resources in the sport?