Aside the beneficial effect of sports on health and productivity of citizens, the organisation of the National Unity Games (NUG) is to foster unity, patriotism and national cohesion required for the growth and development of the country. The Games will also be used to identify talents from the districts and regions who can subsequently be nursed and nurtured for future international competitions.
Madam Speaker, it is a widely held view in Ghana, that most of the "Lesser Known Sports" are starved of competition and attention. The organisation of the Games will therefore, create the necessary platform to grow these lesser known sports at competitive levels. The Games will also serve as the necessary platform to prepare Ghana's teams for the forthcoming All Africa Games due to take place in Maputo, Mozambiques in October this year, BCOWAS Games, and Olympic Games scheduled for next year,
Madam Speaker, what is particularly exciting about the upcoming Games is the renaming of the event as "NATIONAL UNITY GAMES" with the theme "Uniting the People through Sports".
We are all aware of the tensions associated with political, ethnic and traditional rivalries as well as frustrations of the youth in society. To keep the unity of our country intact, it is important that once in a while, an event of this nature is organised to bring the people together. Indeed, the National Unity Games seek to unity Ghanaians of all walks of life through sports.
Madam Speaker, about 5,000 sports- men and women from all the ten (10) regions of Ghana, the security services and tertiary institutions will assemble in the national capital, Accra from 17'" to 27th ' July, 2011 to vie for honours in twenty (20) sporting disciplines.
Disciplines to be competed for at the Games are: Colts Soccer, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Chess and Disabled Sports. The rest are: Handball, Hockey, Judo, Karate-Do, Netball, Cycling, Scrabble, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tae kwon do, Tennis, Volleyball and Weightlifting.
It is significant to note that for the first time, colts soccer has been included in the list of twenty (20) sports disciplines in the upcoming "NATIONAL UNITY GAMES". The inclusion of colts soccer is in direct response to the concerns raised by His Excellency, President J. E- A. Mills about the neglect of colts soccer and the need to revive it to serve as nursery ground for our senior national football teams.
Through colts soccer, the Abedi Peles, Stephen Appiahs, Asamoah Gyans, Michael Essiens, to mention a few, were all unearthed; and it is hoped that the forthcoming Colts Soccer Tournament will produce more future stars for Ghana football.
The venues for the competition include The-Accra Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, University of Ghana Legon Sports Stadium, El Wak Sports Stadium, the National Hockey pitch, as well as various places within the University of Ghana campus earmarked for some sporting activities. All the athletes and officiating officials will be accommodated at the University of Ghana.
Madam Speaker, the Opening Ceremony will be held on Sunday, the 17th of July, 2011 at the Accra Sports Stadium under the patronage of I-LB Prof. J.E.A. Mills, the President of the Republic of Ghana, who himself was a keen sportsman and sports administrator. In order to live up to the theme of the Games, invitation is being extended to leadership of all the political parties, youth groups, educa-