Ghana participated in the International UNESCO-led Zoom Conference on Sports under the theme, “Strengthening the ethics, integrity and values of sport in the ECOWAS region after the COVID-19 pandemic,” held in Dakar, Senegal.
The conference witnessed over 30 participants including countries from the West African sub-region who made presentations on the current state of sports in their respective countries and how they intend to ensure recovery of sports in their respective countries.
Professor Peter Twumasi, the Director-General of the National Sports Authority (NSA) represented Ghana.
Other countries that took part in the the conference included Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Prof. Twumasi who spoke on behalf of the Government of Ghana chronicled the various interventions the country made in the sports sector during the outbreak of COVID19 from March 2020 till date.
These included suspension of all sporting activities and provisions of relief packages to individual athletes, sports clubs, and associations.
With the resumption of sporting activities in Ghana by the end of October 2020, all games were played behind closed doors and later with the admission of 25% of spectators into our stadiums.
The Government of Ghana made substantial financial and logistical contributions to sports clubs to enable them to participate in the ongoing football league matches. Government also absorbed the cost of disinfection of sporting facilities and testing of athletes and treatment of those who turned out positive.
Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, he said, the Government of Ghana has maintained a steady infrastructural development in sports, to ensure that the hosting of the Africa Ghana Games 2023 is unaffected.
He also informed the conference of the country’s 100% compliance to anti-doping and for effective regulation of doping at all forms of sports for fair play and to ensure that the health of athletes was not compromised.
“Ghana continues to open its door for adoption of the regional anti-doping laboratory and readiness to host such a facility on her soil for the benefit of the entire sub-region,” he added.
The Director-General further called on UNESCO and all member countries including partners in sports to help preserve the existing funding and possibly advocating for a more enhanced budget for sports in all member countries even in the midst of COVID19, stressing that sports improve the health of the affected population and also as a tool for rebuilding collapsed economies.
Ghana assured Senegal of her readiness to support the hosting of 2026 Youth Olympic Games especially by inviting them to learn from Ghana during the preparation of Africa Games 2023 in Accra, Ghana.
The conference would continue for the next two days.