A total of 47 personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) who have excelled in various sporting disciplines have been awarded for their contributions to sports development in the Service and the country.
The first ever Sport awards, held for both active and retired officers of the Service was also meant to re-kindle the enthusiasm of personnel in sports in order to raise and maintain the sporting prowess of the Service.
In the 1980s and 90s, the GNFS was known for its incomparable sporting prowess and noted to have produced some of the best athletes in sports.
“Beginning from the mid 2000’s the performance of sports in the Service began to dip so much so that today, the Fire Service is the last in sports among the security services, a situation the present Administration wants to reverse,” Dr Albert Brown Gaisie, Chief Fire Officer said.
Speaking at the award ceremony in Accra, Dr Gaisie said all sportsmen and women who have won medals for the Service and for the Country were being awarded, with certificates, citations, and medals while other were being promoted in ranks.
The awards ceremony was held under the theme: “Enhancing Corporate Image through Sports”.
Among the awardees was Ms Beatrice Gyaman, member of the Female National Athletic Team who won Gold at the World University Games 2015, she was given a gold medal, and promoted to a double rank .
Station Officer Ali Jarra was also given a gold medal and promoted to a divisional officer one, while Ms Vivian Aggor also had a gold medal and promoted to Divisional Officer three, and Ms Mercy Quarcoo-Tagoe was also given gold medal and promoted to the rank of Divisional Officer one.
The other awardees were given silver and bronze medals.
Mr Gaisie explained that ”It has become necessary to recognise these Sports Personalities because, sports over the years have moved from what was referred to as personal interest and recreation to multi-million dollar profit making venture”.
He said the retired sportsmen were being thanked for contributing their quota to sports development in the Service, while active sportsmen were being encouraged to know that their efforts would be rewarded.
He said GNFS has identified the contributions of their sportsmen and women to the Service and therefore the need to award them and to also motivate and encourage the young who are active now to excel.
The Chief Fire Officer called on coperate Ghana, Non- Governmental Organisations and philanthropic individuals to consider sponsoring sportsmen and women, sports infrastructure, and sports development in the Country.
Mr Mark Owen Woyongo, Minister of the Interior, in a message read on his behalf by Mrs Adelaide Annor Kumi, Chief Director at the Ministry, said it was a right thing for the GNFS to award deserving sports personnel to encourage them to do more for the Service and country.
He said if sports were managed well, it could contribute to the creation of full time employment in sport and sport-related activities. “This means that as a country we can use sports to create employment to reduce the rate of unemployment among the youth and create wealth for the nation”.
He said in the past the Security Services served as breeding grounds for sportsmen and women to feed the national team, and that situation made it easy for the nation to excel at international tournaments.
He therefore, encouraged the GNFS to take the lead in recruiting more sportsmen and women to feed the national teams so that the other Sister Services would also follow suit.
He asked that the SESSA games organised among the Security services, which have served as one of the most excellent sports festivals in the country must be brought back with all bottlenecks removed to help churn out sporting personnel for the country.
Dr Mustapha Ahmed, Minister of Youth and Sports, who donated five footballs to the GNFS sporting team, commended the awardees for the excellent sporting laurels and expressed the hope that the awards would motivate them to do more.
He announced that the Sports Bill initiated by the Ministry has been approved by Parliament and would be laid before Cabinet soon for approval to serve as impetus to improve sporting activities in the country.
Dr Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, who chaired the ceremony, encouraged the GNFS to whip up its enthusiasm in sports to enable its bounce back as the best in sporting among the security services. GNA