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Sports News
Ghana Protests 2/13/2007
Ghana and Senegal lashed out at organizers at the Alpine Skiing World Championships for adding a qualification run for the slalom race, saying it was unfair to smaller countries who would not make the main event.
Ghana and other nations are angry that the International Ski Federation, which organizes the biennial championships, created qualifying races for men’s slalom and giant slalom. The new rules arise from an effort by the federation to reduce the number of skiers in the championship events to a more manageable size for television broadcasts.

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong of Ghana still planned to compete in the elimination races for the giant slalom and the slalom but said that he might not qualify for a championship race, a year after he was disappointed not to qualify for the Olympics in Turin, Italy.

“Every nation should have at least one place,” Nkrumah-Acheampong said.

Representatives from the countries intended to withdraw their skiers from the slalom race as a protest, and accused the International Ski Federation of not wanting Africans to compete at the worlds.

The top 50 racers in the world are guaranteed a start number in the men’s giant slalom Wednesday, but another group will have to qualify for the race by finishing in the top 25 in a special giant slalom Monday, an elimination race that will include 101 racers from nontraditional ski nations like Armenia, China and Brazil.

That qualification race was planned and announced months ago, but only last week did the ski federation decide there would also be qualifying for the men’s slalom. The decision came after more than 160 racers applied for a start position.

Although the federation rulebook allows such a late adjustment to the program, some of the racers do not have a staff of full-time national coaches to keep up with the sport’s constant rule adjustments. Nkrumah-Acheampong, for instance, said he had already arranged for his wife and 3-year-old daughter to fly to Sweden to watch him compete in the slalom championship Saturday.

Now, with qualifying for the slalom Thursday, he could be eliminated before they arrive.


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