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Ghana Olympic Committee President staying positive despite COVID-19 disruption2 minutes read

Ben Nunoo Mensah believes the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Ghanaian athletes may turn out to be a blessing in disguise

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The President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) Ben Nunoo Mensah has said the effects of the socio-economic disruption of the coronavirus pandemic on Ghanaian athletes may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

According to him, athletes would now have more time to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which has been rescheduled for next year.

The Olympic Games were postponed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to the coronavirus pandemic which has severely affected domestic and international businesses, disrupted economies and global trade and also affected human lives.

There are about 5million confirmed cases worldwide resulting in 324,000 deaths. However, 1.71million people have recovered.

Only four Ghanaian athletes have qualified for the games so far. Boxers Samuel Takyie and Sulemana Tetteh, sprinter Joseph Paul Amoah and triple jumper Nadia Eke have all qualified. Other athletes yet to secure a spot at the Games were set to compete in qualifying tournaments in order to book a spot.

Despite the havoc created by the pandemic, Mensah believes that Ghanaian athletes should look at the silver lining. He stated that the postponement of the Olympic Games has given athletes ample time to prepare well for the Games as well as compete in qualifying tournaments.

Speaking via video conferencing on Accra’s Happy FM to discuss the effects of the Covid-19 on Ghana’s Sports industry, he said, “It’s kind of a blessing to our Ghanaian athletes in terms of preparation. It may also be a curse if we wait till the last minute before we begin preparation too.

“Athletes preparing for the Games were supposed to perform at their peak by the time the Games were in session per their training regimes. Athletes may be affected as a result but they can re-adjust and prepare ahead of the Games,” he added.

The International Olympic Committee has fixed the new dates for the Olympic Games for July 23, 2021 to August 8, 2021. It has also set aside $800m to help with the “severe” financial impact caused by the postponement of the Games. Organizers will get $650m while $150m is set to be split into loans for international sports federations and National Olympic Committees with cash flow problems.

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East Africa Sports News

Kenyan star faces long spell on the sidelines

Kenya’s double 800m Olympic champion David Rudisha is set to be sidelined for at least four months after undergoing ankle surgery

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Kenya’s double 800m Olympic champion David Rudisha is expected to be sidelined for at least four months after he underwent successful surgery on his left ankle on Thursday after sustaining a fracture.

The 31-year-old, who has not competed in nearly two years due to knee and back injuries, twisted his ankle last week at his rural home in Kilgoris, Kenya.

“During a walk on the compound the 31-year-old stepped on uneven ground, and initially believed it was not a serious injury,” his manager Michele Boateng said in a press statement.

“He continued with exercises that wouldn’t cause further harm to his ankle but after a lack of improvement over the weekend, he underwent an examination and was diagnosed with an ankle fracture at St. Luke’s hospital in Eldoret.

“Rudisha, who is attempting to compete at his third Olympic Games next year, is expected to be out of training for 12 to 16 weeks and hopes to resume rehabilitation after that.

“According to his surgeon and Kenyan team doctor, Dr. Victor Bargoria, it was a left ankle fracture (Supination External Rotation) and he fixated it with a third tubular plate and 3.5mm screws,” his manager said on social media.

Before the Covid-19 related disruptions, the world record holder resumed training in December 2019 and had been training hard in order to become the first man to win three consecutive titles at Tokyo 2020. He is one of only four men to win back-back 800m Olympic titles and had been hopeful that he would be fit to defend his title at the now-postponed Tokyo 2020 Games.

“It’s been very tough handling all these pressures. I want to put everything behind me and start from here, now that the injury is gone and all that is in the past, so that I can improve myself on the track,” he told the Olympic Channel while attending the 2019 World Championships in Doha.

Regarded as the greatest 800-metre athlete of all time, Rudisha smashed the world 800-metre record twice in a span of eight days in 2010. He bettered Kenyan-born Dane Wilson Kipketer’s 13-year record in the two-lap race, posting 1:41.09 in Berlin and a week later in Rieti Italy he clocked 1:41.01.

In the same year, he was as crowned IAAF Athlete of the year for his achievements. At London 2012, Rudisha led from start to finish as he set the world record of 1:40.91.

Lord Sebastian Coe, IAAF president and two-time Olympic 1,500 metre champion, described the run as “the most extraordinary piece of running I have probably ever seen”.

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Sports News

“Tango Four” resigns as AS Vita Club President

After 13 years at the helm, General Gabriel Amisi steps down fromrole as president of DR Congo club AS Vita Club

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After 13 years at the helm, General Gabriel Amisi has resigned from his position as president of DR Congo’s AS Vita Club.

“President Amisi has asked me, on his behalf, to say a word of thanks to the whole Vita Club family for the trust he was shown during his 12-year mandate as head of Vita Club. 12 years ago Vita was completely on the street. It had to be organized to be where it is today. It is a time of joy and regret. His body needs to take a little rest since it also has responsibilities in the country, ” Dr. Patrice Noha, advisor to the club’s marketing directorate said.

“He felt he had served Vita Club enough for 12 years and the time had come to retire as president. Whenever the need arises, he will provide support. He leaves, but he leaves to the team all the players, all the real estate in favor of the team,” he concluded.

Despite the announcement, Amisi’s letter of resignation still has to be ratified by the members of the Supreme Council of the club.

Major General Gabriel Amisi Kumba was Chief of Staff of the Forces Terrestres, the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was implicated by Human Rights Watch in the execution of soldier Joe Lona Bifuko and in the torture of prisoners in a military intelligence detention center in Goma in 2001.

He became famous for the repression of a mutiny in Kisangani in May 2002. On 22 November 2012, Amisi was suspended from his position in the Forces Terrestres by president Joseph Kabila due to his alleged role in the arms sales to rebel groups in the eastern part of the country.

Known as “Tango Four”, Amisi became president of AS Vita Club on March 27, 2007, and achieved moderate success. He notably led the Black Dolphins to 3 titles in Linafoot (2010, 2015 and 2018). On the continental scene, they came painfully close to glory. First, they lost the 2014 CAF Champions League final on the away goals rule after their two-legged contest with ES Setif of Algeria ended in a 3-3 draw.

There was also heartbreak in the 2018 CAF Confederations Cup final in 2018 after they narrowly lost to Raja Casablanca 4-3 on aggregate.

AS Vita Club is one of the most successful teams in the Democratic Republic of Congo claiming 14 league titles, nine Coupe du Congo titles and the CAF Champions League in 1973.

However, support for Amisi had been divided among fans for a while. Some supporters called for his resignation while many feel that he had performed well considering that Vita Club could not match the financial clout and resources of giants TP Mazembe.

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East Africa Sports News

Nairobi leg of World Athletics Continental Tour named Kip Keino Classic

Nairobi leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour has been named the “Kip Keino Classic” in honour of Kenyan legend

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The Nairobi leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour has been named the “Kip Keino Classic”. Nairobi race director Barnaba Korir disclosed that apart from the main event being named after legendary former athlete Kipchoge Keino, the 10,000m will be known as the “Naftali Temu 10,000m Classic.”

“Kipchoge is the father of Kenyan athletics and the world knows him more than any Kenyan in athletics,” said Korir adding that naming the 10,000 at the meeting after legendary Temu will inspire Kenyan athletes to go for the Olympic title come the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games next year.

Kipchoge Keino won two gold medals in the 1500 and 5000 metres at the inaugural All-Africa Games in Brazaville in 1965. Later that year, he broke the 5000 m world record held by Ron Clarke, clocking 13 mins 24.2secs.

At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, he won the 1500 metres gold medal (defeating American favourite and world record holder Jim Ryun by 20 metres, the largest winning margin in the history of the event) and 5000 m silver medal. Four years later, he won the 3000 metres steeplechase gold and 1500 metres silver at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. He retired in 1973.

The World Athletics Continental Tour was formed by World Athletics last year as the second tier to the prestigious Diamond League.

The Tour will feature mostly events that have been removed from the Diamond League prime time starting from the inaugural 2020 season. They are 10,000, 5,000, 200m, 3000m steeplechase, discus, hammer and triple jump.

The Continental Tour that has 10 events is divided into three levels – Gold, Silver and Bronze – whose status will be determined by the quality of competition and prize money.

Athletics Kenya plans to stage several meetings starting early August in readiness for the Kip Keino Classic. AK president Jackson Tuwei revealed that if the government relaxes Covid-19 restrictions, they are likely to stage county and regional events before the nationals.

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