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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Aziz Zakari, others banned from world athletics championship

Aziz Zakari, Ghana's top male sprinter
Aziz Zakari, Ghana's top male sprinter

The International Association Athletics Federation (IAAF) has banned Ghanaian athletes from taking part in the World Athletics Championships due in Berlin this month.

The decision is as a result of disputed election in June which ushered in Prof Francis Dodoo as new Chairman of the Ghana Olympic Committee.

The IAAF says it does not recognize the newly elected executives and has called for the reinstatement of the old executives led by BT Baba, pending the organization of another congress.

Ghana’s female sprinter Vida Anim has described the decision as unfair. She has together with Seth Amu, Aziz Zakari been preparing feverishly for the competition which begins on August 15.

In an interview with Joy Sports, Anim called on the feuding parties to put the interest and careers of the athletes above their personal interest.

She said their dreams cannot be shattered on the altar of people’s ambitions to become leaders.

Even though BT Baba and Prof Dodoo have both publicly declared their intention to step down in the interest of the worried athletes, there still remain issues of legitimacy which has to be resolved.

Baba says he is ready to meet with Dodoo for an amicable solution, but added in what capacity is he going to meet him?

As far as he is concerned, the June 30 election was flawed, unconstitutional and would only go along with the directive of the IAAF which says the former executives must remain in office until a flawless congress is held to elect new ones.

He was outraged over letters sent to him by Prof Dodoo requesting him (Baba) to desist from signing letters in the name of the GOC.

Prof Dodoo however insists his election was fair and just. A re-election he said could disenfranchise other members of the GOC.

It is not clear the next line of action to be taken, but what is certain is that the dream of the athletes to compete in the championships is in danger, if not shattered.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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