Ghana’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Isaac Kwame Asiamah has called on the International Sports Press Association [AIPS] to help salvage the integrity of sports by promoting a discourse on projecting sports as an effective tool for the development of individuals and nations, instead of the ‘win at all cost’ mentality that currently dominates the system.

Important role of the media

According to the Minister, the current situation has resulted in sports being undermined by negative activities such as doping, corruption scandals, age cheating and match-fixing. Asiamah, however acknowledged the important role of the sporting media in any nation. He admonished the media to play their role as agenda setters, to be circumspect in their reportage, and not use their platform to unnecessarily ignite emotions and passion which in some cases, can lead to conflict.

Hope for the future

While addressing delegates at the sixth AIPS Africa Congress, in Accra, Ghana, Asiamah recognized the power of sports in forging unity, adding that sports is the continent’s hope for the future in a world that is being threatened by conflict.

Contrary to the popular notion that sports and politics should not be bedfellows, Asiamah said, modern day politics and governments see sports as a powerful tool in national development as well as a huge contributor to a nation’s socio-economic prospects.

“As governments, we do not see sports as a luxury but an important national investment in the present and the future and a tool to globalize the world into one united, peaceful nation,” the Minister stressed.

Develop strategies

He thus charged delegates at the congress and the entire membership of the association to develop strategies to create public awareness of the enormous benefits of sports as a tool, not only to enhance our national image, but also to promote national unity, peace, understanding and friendship among people.

“Indeed, where politics and diplomacy have failed to resolve strained relations between nations and individuals, it is sports that came to the rescue,” the Minister emphasized, citing examples of how sports is the reason why North and South Korea paraded under one flag of the Korea Pennisula during the 2002 Sydney Olympic Games, as well as how the people of Rwanda used sports to reconcile after the 1994 genocide.

Source: Lawrencia Adjei| AIPS Young Reporter, Ghana