Ghana, unfortunately, missed out on the 2021 Karate World Olympic Qualification Tournament held at the AccorHotels Arena Sports Hall in Paris, France. The competition which is a 2020 Tokyo Olympics Qualifier was held from 11 – 13 June 2021 and played host to 479 athletes from 96 different countries.
The Ghana Karate-Do Federation (GKF) had been struggling to secure funding to participate in the tournament but the federation kept its hopes alive even three days before the competition, with the Technical Director of the GKF, Kwabena Poku, revealing back then that there was still a 50-50 chance of participation.
“As we speak now, preparations are ongoing, we have been training but we are not too sure whether we are going to get funds or not and that is our problem.”
“As of the latter part of last week, we were promised by the ministry [Ministry of Youth & Sports] to be given some money. So our President [Melvin Brown] is currently following that up, and if do [give funding] we will decide as to exactly when we are leaving but it’s still a fifty-fifty chance.”
Funding for the 2021 Karate World Olympic Qualification Tournament would arrive but the Ghana Karate-Do Federation after a meeting would decide they didn’t have enough time to go through the needed processes to travel to the event. This was revealed to the Press Box by the President of the GKF, Melvin Brown.
“We got approval but just that it came a bit late, you know, we had to secure visas and then do COVID test, plus other things, but basically apart from all these we took a decision that if things were running late we [GKF] might as well give up and then prepare for subsequent international competitions which are equally important.” Mr Brown stated
Mr Brown would however state his belief that the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and National Sports Authority (NSA) will continue to support the other least financed sports in the country “I want to believe that there is still that goodwill from the Ministry [of Youth and Sports] and the National Sports Authority in terms of helping other sports disciplines.”
The biggest losers however are the 3 athletes who were set to participate in the tournament. Who after training for weeks to get themselves ready to prove their Olympic Games worth were denied but according to the GKF President, Melvin Brown, they understood the situation and are ready to move forward. “Obviously every athlete would want to go out there and compete but then I think that they understand the situation. We just have to keep this behind us and then move forward.”
“In any case, the whole world it was gonna be only 80 athletes that will be competing in the Olympics, so it wasn’t gonna be an easy thing, even though we out of the three athletes that we intended to send we were hoping that at least one of them could pull a surprise.”
The Ghana Karate-Do Federation is however looking to the future and the 2023 African Games to held right here in Ghana “this year itself is the beginning of 2023 African Games preparations. So we are going to strengthen our technical team and then we will make sure that whenever we have any programme be it local or international we prepare adequately in terms of providing funds so that we’ll not be found in a similar situation.” said GKF President Melvin Brown.