The Ghana Olympic Committee successfully held its first ordinary congress at the Theodosia Okoh National Hockey Pitch on Saturday 2nd November.
This was the first time members of the GOC were meeting as a body following the congress that elected the Professor Francis Dodoo led administration into office in October 2011.
Congress was held amidst a general atmosphere of harmony and peace, coupled with a general sense of unity of purpose towards developing Ghana Sports.
The day began with Professor Dodoo magnanimously extending a handshake and embrace to Mohammed Sahnoon, the President of the Ghana Cycling Federation, which took the GOC to court immediately after the 2011 Congress as a result of which the GOC could not call a Congress until just a couple of months ago when the GOC prevailed in the courts.
The national Olympic governing body approved an Executive Board-backed Strategic Plan to focus the GOC’s support for the development of sports in the country.
“The goal of the Strategic Plan is to support athletes, improve sports and increase the medal prospects of Olympic athletes by collaborating with the government and other stakeholders to facilitate the sports value chain of the nation, and all this with our commitment to professionalism, fairness, Olympism, transparency and accountability.”
The GOC Plan focuses on four key areas: Funding, Sports Medicine, Girls/Women in Sport and Restructuring Federations.
Meanwhile, Congress also adopted a motion by the President of the Ghana Cycling Federation, Mr, Mohammed Sahnoon, to extend the mandate of the current administration beyond 2015 in accordance with the old GOC Constitution, which requires the body to conduct an elective assembly in the session immediately following the Olympic year.
It will be recalled that the GOC held its last elections in 2011, meaning that the Executives’ four-year tenure would have expired in 2015, a year before the Olympic Games are held in the Brazilian city of Rio.
Alternatively, Article 11 of the GOC Constitution would have called for an election to be held last Saturday, because it was the General Assembly immediately following the 2012 Olympics.
But, the mood of the day moved delegates in the direction of extending the tenure of the current Executives till after Rio.
This was seen as the best way of resolving the Constitutional dilemma, provoked by the fact that the 2011 election did not occur, as the Constitution required, in the Congress following the Olympics.
Congress also approved the recommendation by the current Executive Board to institute term limits on the tenure of the elected officers, in tandem with a promise made by the new GOC Executive Board when they were elected in 2011; previously, there were no terms limits for the GOC President.
Congress also unanimously endorsed an Executive Board recommendation to part ways with the Association of Sports for the Disabled (ASD), which now is considered the National Paralympic Committee, a parallel body to the GOC charged with organizing Paralympic sports.
In the same way that the IOC and the IPC remain distinct bodies, it was not considered appropriate for ASD to retain a seat on the GOC, once it had morphed into the NPC.
The GOC also admitted the Ghana Fencing Association and the Ghana National Rifle Association into the Olympic Family in Ghana, after deliberation over their respective applications. The next elective GOC Congress is due to be held after the 2016 Olympic Games.