President John Dramani Mahama has given a personal cash reward of GH¢10,000 to “amazing” junior Olympics gold winner, Martha Bissah, and charged the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) to pay special attention to the development of her talent.
He said the honour the young athlete had brought to the nation was tremendous, and so her abundant talent must be harnessed in the interest of the nation.
Receiving the 17-year-old middle distance runner at the Flagstaff House yesterday, the President emphasised that her exploits had drummed home the need for increased investment in athletics.
“She looks smaller than I saw her on television. For such a little girl to have done us proud in this manner continues to tell us that if we invested proportionately in the other sports to what we invest in football, we would be seeing more gold medals than we have currently seen,” the President said.
Bissah became the first Ghanaian to win an Olympic gold medal at any level after a blistering run in the 800 metres final of the just-ended Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.
Her time of 2:04.90 was a personal best and a new national record.
Bissah is a former student of the Aduman Senior High School in the Ashanti Region.
Before that stupendous performance in China, the new world junior champion had won bronze at the 2014 African Youth Games in May in Gaborone, Botswana.
The athlete, who was at the Flagstaff House with a host of athletics officials, led by the President of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Prof. Francis Dodoo, and her parents, was embraced by the President when she presented the gold medal she won to the number one man of the land.
President Mahama said the fact that the other sports had shown that they could deliver more laurels to the nation was a challenge to the sports ministry and its affiliated bodies to embark on continuous talent hunt.
He was happy that some positive signs had started coming up, especially in athletics, under the tutelage of Prof. Dodoo
Prof. Dodoo said the reforms his outfit had introduced over the last four years were beginning to show results.
“We are grooming the next generation of athletes and Martha is one of them,” he said.