The President of the Ghana Taekwondo Federation (GTF), Mr., Frederick Lartey Otu, has described as unfortunate the failure of athletes to acquire visas to participate in the recently held taekwondo championship in Manchester.
He said many athletes from other Africa countries endured a similar ordeal and affected the Africa presence at the championship and appealed to embassies in the country to be responsive to their applications in order to participate in the high profile events.
Mr. Otu made the remarks at a dinner hosted by the Korea Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Kim Sungsoo on Thursday.
Also present at the meeting were the Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Prof. Peter Twumasi and other members of the embassy, the NSA and the GTF.
Mr. Otu said reports that players were abandoned for only him to travel was unfounded, explaining that he traveled as an executive and was given different function and had virtually nothing to perform with the Ghanaian contingent if they had arrived.
He clarified that but for the significance of his role at the taekwondo General Assembly, he would have abandoned the trip due to the visa issues of the athletes but was prevailed upon by the Board with approval of the NSA to make the trip.
"I would have stayed but was scheduled to meet with the senior Director, Member Relations and Development Department of World Taekwondo (WT), Jeong Park Seo, who I have managed to secure 2nd Generation Protective and Scoring System (PSS) from, Dr Richard Barnor, Special Advisor to the President of WT for Humanitarian Foundation who also wants to support a GTF championship before All African Games with medals. Daniel Kobina, a Ghanaian Taekwondo Instructor in USA who will also support us in the championship and other administrators."
Mr. Otu sought for the support of the NSA and the Korea Embassy in implementing the Global Membership System (GMS) which registers all members of taekwondo, as he envisages difficulty in getting practitioners and officials onto the GMS.
He said currently, only 35 members of the Federation are on the GMS, a situation he described as bad.
At the meeting, the GTF also received sets of Taekwondo Uniforms (Dobok) and belts as part of the Embassy's support for the development of the combat sport.
Mr. Kim Sungsoo pledged the Embassy's support for the GTF as it develop and promote the sport across the country.
Mr. Sungsoo said to avoid such situations in future, the WT should cooperate with not just the British Embassy but other missions whose countries host events to ensure visa acquisition don't become an issue for African countries.
The Director General, Prof. Twumasi said it was sad that the athletes were not able to get the visas to participate in the championship but acknowledged the importance of the President's presence at the General Assembly.
"It is rather unfortunate for the athletes and I think your petition to the world body was in place, however if you hadn't gone, you wouldn't have secured all these equipment," he said.
He said it was bad when the situation led to Africa missing out on the medal table at the 25th Championship for the first time since Chicago, USA in 1995.