Former President of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), Mr. George Haldane Luttrodt has said, it would be out of place for Youth Olympic gold medalist, Martha Bissah to apologise to the GAA for telling the truth.
Bissah Ghana’s only Youth Olympic gold medalist accused the GAA of extortion while working on a scholarship for her to study in the USA.
This came after her excellent performance at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
The 23-year old Bissah was suspended indefinitely in 2016 by the GAA for indiscipline and bringing the name of the association into disrepute with false allegations.
For the ban to be lifted, the GAA demanded an apology from the athlete, however, the former GAA President told the GNA Sports that the athlete would not apologize for what she insists was the truth.
He said, “Martha Bissah would not apologize for telling the truth. The girl said she told the truth. What the GAA should have done was to get an external arbitrator to investigate the issue and not placing an indefinite suspension.
“An external committee should have been formed to hear the girl but that didn’t happen and GAA would never be forgiven for that.
“This is illegal and the due process was not followed and we don’t suspend an athlete indefinitely,” he added.
On his part, the GAA should rather apologise to Bissah for the ill-treatment being meted out on her. “GAA should rather apologize to Martha Bissah for the suspension,” he added.
In a related story, Mr. George Halden Lutterodt, says, the Association’s indefinite suspension could be a reason former Youth Olympic gold medalist, Martha Bissah failed to qualify for this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
The GAA suspended Bissah, who was 17 years then for making false allegations against the Association and the ban can only be lifted if the athlete substantiates her claims or apologise.
In an interview, Mr. Lutterodt, who secured a four-year scholarship for Bissah to study in the United States of America (USA) in 2016 said, the GAA’s indefinite suspension could be part of the reasons Ghana’s only Youth Olympic 800m gold Olympic medalist missed out on the Olympic Games.
He said, “The GAA’s suspension was also part of her inability to qualify for the Olympics this year. Psychologically, it can affect your performance when you can’t compete at the International level because of a suspension and this could be why she could not qualify.”
According to him, Prof. Francis Dodoo, who stepped down as the GAA President at a Congress in Accra on July 15 would be remembered in Athletics for placing an indefinite suspension on a minor.
“What legacy is Francis Dodoo leaving when he parts ways with GAA. Athletics is not in good shape under his care. He has done some good things for the game but he would be remembered for banning a minor indefinitely and that is his legacy. It’s a shame,” he said.