Some members of the Ghana Paralympic team are calling on authorities to financially support the team to aid their preparations for the Commonwealth games that will be held in Birmingham later this year.
The para track and field athletes who are based in Kumasi will be representing Ghana during the July-August games in the UK and have been preparing vigorously ahead of the competition.
The team trains at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium daily but has bemoaned lack of support revealing, they have had to fund their preparations from their meagre earnings, something with which may affect their output during the Commonwealth games.
In an interview with Delali Atiase of Luv FM, captain of the side, Patrick Yaw Obeng, described their situation as distressful and called on the government and other corporate bodies to come to their aid.
“We have been training hard for the commonwealth games since last year when it was made known to us that the games will be held in July and August this year.
“But honestly, we are facing serious financial problems making our preparations quite difficult. First of all, most of us are family men with wives and children who are in school.“
I come all the way from Santasi every morning to train here at the Baba Yara stadium. I pay for my own transportation, so I have now programmed myself to ride my wheelchair to the stadium and then join a public transport back home at close of day. I can’t bear the transportation cost because it’s just too expensive.
“If even the government had put in place some arrangements for para-athletes to be employed and receive some incentives at the end of every month to support ourselves, we would be happy but no one seems to be listening to us.
“In this country it is difficult for the disabled to find work so the government needs to come to our aid especially as we prepare to represent the country at the commonwealth games,” he said.
Meanwhile, two female athletes of the team, Asana Awudu and Zinabu Issah who have both qualified for the commonwealth games shared their frustrations.
They believe, with support, their disability will not be a boundary to success in Birmingham.
“Right now, as we leave for the commonwealth games the authorities will say try and bring a medal home. But what arrangements have they put in place for us to bring laurels? So, we need support to help us train well and bring the medals home.
“I come from Atonsu every morning to the Baba Yara stadium to train. I pay for my own transportation every day to train but on days when I don’t have money, I have no option but to ride my wheelchair to the stadium.
“Every day after training I help my husband with his shoe making business and that is the money I use for transportation.
“We plead with the government for some financial support because the little support that was coming initially has ceased and we need to prepare well for the games. If we don’t get good preparations, it will have a negative effect on our performance,” said Asana.
According to Zinabu Issah, they are doing their best to overcome the current predicament before the games but it has not been easy for them.
“As for the preparations, we are doing our best but we are not seeing much from the authorities at the top. It is just like a child who is not being catered for by her parents, that child then finds it difficult to make ends meet.
“Sometimes we train on an empty stomach but when we go to participate at the games, we represent the nation Ghana and not a personal venture. But unfortunately, we are doing everything on our own in terms of our preparations. We pay for lorry fares to train ourselves and it is very demotivating,” she added.