National Olympic Committee (NOC) headed by Dr. Patrick Coker and the Sports Ministry has ended a successful meeting recently at the Deputy Minister’s office at Bishop House, National Stadium.
Before the start of the meeting, the Acting Director of Sports, Alphan Coker thanked the Deputy Minister of Sport, Al-Sankoh Conteh for making it possible for the meeting to be held in his office.
The purpose of the meeting, he said, is to update the Minister of Sports and his deputy, on how far they have gone in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.
Alphan said that with the Commonwealth Games just round the corner, a meeting between the Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone is very important.
He went further to give updates on the allowances for the various sporting disciplines that are going to participate in the Commonwealth Games, stating that a sum of Le 425,000,000,000 has been budgeted for the NOC to enable it effectively take part in the Games.
He said that the money was a proposal on paper and was subject to scrutiny by the Ministry of Finance before payments would be made.
In his statement, the President of NOC, Dr. Coker was quick to raise his worries about the slow pace of releasing monies to the NOC. He noted that such state of affairs always dampens the spirit of athletes during international games.
He also revealed that when it comes to football encounter, everyman power and forces are used to get the money needed, but when it is athletics it is not readily available.
He appealed to the Government through the Ministry of Sports, to do all in their powers for the NOC to get the money on time, so that they would be able to prepare in earnest and leave the shores of Sierra Leone on time.
Dr. Coker also suggested that he would want the Sierra Leone team to leave one week before the official opening of the games, so that the athletes would sufficiently acclimatize to the weather.
On the issue of National attire and colours, Dr. Coker suggested that a meeting should be called by the Ministry of Sports inviting all sporting disciplines taking part in the Games to discuss the National colours and the various acceptable dress codes.
The Chef De Mission, Unisa Deen Kargbo, gave an update of his frequent travels in and out of Sierra Leone since his appointment.
He disclosed that he would leave the shores of Sierra Leone on the 8th July and the general delegation on the 13th July.
The conference of ministries of Sports will be held on the 21st and the official opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games is on the 23rd July.
He also stated that some Journalists have been granted accreditations and they will attend the Games at their own expense.
He also informed the deputy Minister, Al Sankoh Conteh about the China Games which will commence after the Commonwealth Games.
The NOC scribe, Joseph Nyande said that this is one of the best meetings between the Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee. He suggested that the NOC and the Sports ministry should collaborate and organize National Championships.
Pamela Williams, in her contribution, said that the various sporting disciplines should prepare and send their budgets for their technical attire, so that the Ministry of Sports and National Olympic Committee (NOC) will be able to adequately prepare a budget.
The Deputy Minister of Sports, Al Sankoh Conteh said “we should start working on the proposed budget now, instead of waiting for the eleventh hour as we have specific dates and deadlines to meet.”
He added “We must work towards these dates so that we would not be late”.
The Deputy Minister subscribed to the suggestions made by Dr. Coker that the ministry should call a meeting of all sporting disciplines to discuss various technical attire to be worn by athletes during the official opening of the Games.
In his final statement, the Deputy Minister said that the meeting was fruitful and as a Ministry “we would try to do our best to give the NOC all what they want so that the trip to Scotland would be a successful one.
By Bernard Turay
Tuesday June 24, 2014