Congestion in the camp of Ghana Paralympics team in Kumasi is raising fears of a potential spread of Covid-19 if any of the athletes contracts the disease.
About 25 of them are crammed into a single wooden apartment in total disregard of the social distancing protocol at the risk of the athletes.
The national para-athletics team had been camping in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which have now been postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A makeshift wooden structure has housed the country’s Paralympic team since 1996.
The athletes appear not to have a choice having to endure such conditions in a bid to chalk successes at global competitions for Ghana.
The poor accommodation of the team can no longer be ignored, at least, until Covid-19 is over.
Multiple Olympic gold medalist, Yaw Oben, who is captain of the national team explains that “the wooden structure has been our abode, we are 25 in number all of us sleep together every night, this is where we all sleep both male and female so social distancing doesn’t exist in our world when it’s time for us to sleep.”
Mr Oben lamented that the wooden makeshift poor ventilated 12×12 meter room has been the abode that has been housing at least 25 athletes of the national team.” In fact, this is where we have been camping in preparation of the 2020 Olympic games,” he added.
The multiple gold medalist laments he has won more than 25 medals for Ghana but he and the efforts are not acknowledged because of overreliance on football at the expense of other sporting disciplines.
A standard gym is another concern as their environment and facilities are not sport-friendly.
The national team’s existing gym is made of old locomotive metals athletes have had to contend with over the years.
Mr. Oben laments repeated complains to authorities have fallen on deaf ears.
“We have been complaining to the sports authorities but it has yielded no results, we hope that this interview will make the difference because even if the sports minister comes to the stadium and we manage to get closer to him to tell him our problems we don’t get the chance. So I will say that we have been neglected for too long a time,” he bemoans.
These physically challenged patriots have defied the odds to sacrifice for their country, and not chosen the easy way of begging on the streets.
The major safety mantra against covid-19 is social distancing, hand washing and staying home.
However, until help comes the way of these national athletes they are exposed to the danger of contracting the disease.