Ghana: 'Don't Ignore Athletes in COVID-19 Times'

Former Chairman of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), Mr George Haldane-Lutterodt has asked sports federation heads to support athletes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which has rendered athletes inactive.

According to Mr Lutterodt, the athletes could not be left alone in such crucial moments when they required financial and other logistical support to train and keep fit as they wait for sporting activities to resume.

"This is the moment they need their leaders to support them. We cannot leave them to struggle for survival and expect them to come back strongly and compete for the nation," he stated.

Apart from the Ghana Weightlifting Federation (GWF) and the Ghana Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (GBFA), none of the over 40 other federations have provided any form of support to their respective athletes despite the unbearable conditions of the athletes courtesy COVID-19.

Government, he said, has done well to offer support across the board but charged federation heads to be proactive and go to the aid of their athletes in order to get the best out of them after the pandemic.

In view of this, the former GAA capo has set a sports fund to help athletes in need and has contributed GH¢15,000 as seed money for the special fund to support the athletes.

"They need help and this is my own small way of assisting. The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), federation heads and other stakeholders must come on board to support the athletes," he stated.

Some athletes, he said, might not be able to return to sports after the pandemic because they have been left destitute.

Going forward, he said football, for example, should be able to resume in a month's time but behind closed doors.

"This is what we call the 'new normal'. Sports can resume under very strict health supervision and circumstances otherwise, we would wait forever," he stated.

He urged the GOC and the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) to also set up a special fund for athletes.

He advised athletes to remain safe and continue training while respecting social distancing protocols as they wait for the pandemic to end.

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