Last week the entire country jumped into wild jubilation as the men’s 4X100 relay team put Ghana back on the world map and secured their berth in the 2020 summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Race experts Joseph Paul Amoah, Sean Sarfo Antwi, Joseph Manu and the record-shattering Benjamin Azamati finished second in Heat 1 at the 2021 World Relay championships to spark delightful memories of the good old days of Aziz Zakari, Leonard Myles-Mills, Andrew Owusu and their co-equals who beamed infectious excitement across the sporting fraternity of the country.
The performance put on display by Azamati, Amoah, Antwi and their compatriot does point out to neither factual inflation nor mendacity but good vision and collaboration to position young men and women who aspires to achieve sporting greatness through nurturing their physical skills, having assess to world class facility, provide education, hope and self-believe.
The vision of the Ghana Olympic Committee hierarchy, led by Ben Nunoo Mensah, is yielding fruits for the West African nation who have targeted sending 14 athletes to the Games of the XXXII Olympiad which takes place from Friday, July 23, 2021 – Sunday, August 8, 2021.
Ghana Olympic Committee, the mother body for all sporting disciplines in the country – including the Ghana Football Association, has over the past four years put key Ghanaian athletes on the scope to harnessing their talents and putting a clearer definition to their career.
Since September 2017 the Ghana Olympic Committee has been exploiting all available avenues on the international arena to offer Ghanaian sports men and women the best opportunities in their various fields. To put things in clearer and better perspective the GOC has over the period opened up the avenue for 17 athletes who access platforms that has bettered their careers. Through the vision and determination of the GOC hierarchy to strategically position athletes in the country, the Ghanaian sporting governing body help these 17 athletes to access the Olympic Scholarship – a programme with a expenditure totaling $110,000.
Three of the seventeen athletes who benefitted from the scholarship package accessed through the Ghana Olympic Committee have already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – triple jumper Nadia Eke of Colombia University, sprinter Joseph Paul Amoah of Coppin State University in Baltimore as well as boxer Samed Shakul have all qualified to participate in the games and are giving high hopes of securing medals for the country in their various disciplines.
These athletes together with 12 others have been earning USD625 each month since September 2017 while Akwasi Frimpong and Carlos Maeder have been earning USD1,500, putting the total investment in the career of these athletes to USD110,000. These athletes are on various university scholarship programmes from starting September 2017 with end date expected in August 2022. Though it must be emphasized that the fund does not come directly from the coffers of the GOC but their role in securing these opportunities for these athletes must not underestimated in any sense because without their presence in the equation it wouldn’t have become possible to access these opportunities. As part of the GOC’s continued commitment to offer support to athletes in the country the body has paid USD9,000 to the Ghana Athletics Association – GAA, in a bid to help body prepare its athletes for the 2020 Olympics.
The initiative from the GOC is highly commendable on every scope and design and athletes in the country must position themselves to enable them access these opportunities to continue to develop and grow. It is appropriate to note that Ghana has huge infrastructure gap and any opportunity to combine foreign university education with access to better facilities and equipment must be welcome.
International Olympic Committee – IOC’s Olympic Scholarship scheme is available for all athletes in individual sporting disciplines but must meet a criteria defined by national federations, the GOC and the IOC to help these athletes access the programme.
Expression and reaction are free commodities in any democratic environment but, as a sporting nation we must collectively forge forward in the right direction to engender development and progress. The attitude of stone-throwing and muddying for political aggrandisement rather harm the growth of sports in the country. Pressing the right buttons of the GOC would surely steer the association to the right direction and eventually to the desired destination. Focusing on negativity and scheming propaganda against the system is unhealthy.
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