Mr. Mike Kwame Penou, the Bono Regional Athletics Coach has suggested the need for the adoption of athletics clubbing system to groom and nurture young athletes in the country.
He said for Ghana to thrive at junior athletics championships and the Olympic Games in the years ahead, athletics coaches needed to understand and practice the clubbing system, saying ”despite the inadequate facilities, that is the best way to develop athletes and athletics in the country”.
Mr. Penou made the proposal in an interview with the GNA Sports in Sunyani on measures being taken by the region to groom and nurture young athletes to become national assets.
He said most of the time, the inability of the country to produce adequate talents, for its national teams had been attributed to the non-availability of facilities which, according to him, was not the case.
”I don’t see it as a facility problem, but the commitment of the coaches and adoption of the right training modules for young athletes to grow through is what was lacking,” Mr. Penou contended.
He cited, that the Bono Region did not have tartan tracks but managed to qualify eight amateur athletes into the junior national teams, saying ”it is because we have started the clubbing system and adopted the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) development plan”.
Mr. Penou said they had within three months after the adoption of the clubbing system and the IAAF plan, won two medals at the Ghana fastest competition held in Cape Coast this year.
He reiterated that, though Sunyani lacked the requisite facilities, champions were being raised, implying that ”it’s not all about the facilities but the commitment and better programmes to groom the children”.
Highlighting the adoption of the clubbing system by the region, Mr. Penou said 112 young male and female athletes had been registered for the club aged between seven and 18, adding “interest is coming from many athletes in the districts and municipalities of the region”.
He indicated it was an eight-year project which was being done in phases with the athletes taking through the IAAF development plan.
Giving the success story of the clubbing system in its three months of operation, Mr. Penou said three girls and four boys had qualified for the national under 15 (U-15) athletics team and another male for the U-18 national team
He expressed optimism, the region was going to make a mark at next year’s Junior High Schools (JHS) athletics competition slated for Koforidua in the Eastern Region, because the nucleus of the regional JHS team would come from the club.