By Bernard Anyan
Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Isaac Asiamah has disclosed that government is ready to support the nation’s preparation and participation in the Commonwealth Games (CWG).
Launching Ghana’s campaign for the Gold Coast 2018, he said “The Ghana Olympic Committee has proposed that Ghana will most likely send a contingent of fifty (50) sportspersons to participate in about twelve (12) sports disciplines at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The Ministry of Youth and Sports will support the thorough preparation of the team.”
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports affirms its support to the efforts of the Ghana Olympic Committee towards preparing a formidable team to represent Ghana and I call on corporate Ghana and individuals to support this worthy course.”
With less than a year to go to the XXI Commonwealth Games (CWG) Gold Coast 2018, the Ghana Olympic Committee has officially launched Ghana’s participation in the 21st Commonwealth Games at a ceremony at the Media Centre at the Accra Sports stadium in Accra.
Dubbed the Journey to Gold Coast, the occasion was also used to officially launch the country’s slogan for the Games, “Gold Coast to Gold Coast …for Gold.”
The Games which starts on 4th April, 2018, will be held in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Secretary General of the GOC, Richard Akpokavie briefed on the nation’s rich history at the Games, noting that Ghana has participated in all the editions of the Commonwealth Games except one, and only failed to win medals in one edition.
He said that the target for Team Ghana at Gold Coast 2018 will not only be to win medals but also to do well, explaining that the launch of the CWG in the country is to create the awareness so that Ghanaians will get involved both financially and emotionally towards Ghana’s adequate preparation and effective participation come Gold Coast 2018.
The Consul and Senior Administrative Officer of the Australian High Commission, Justin Fraser, said Gold Coast 2018 will be the biggest event in the history of the Gold Coast and welcomed all sportsmen and women to Australia.
Having hosted the Queen’s Baton Relay two weeks ago, Mr. Fraser said the Australian High Commission has already started celebrating the Games. He revealed that for the first in the history of the CWG, there will be an even number of medals for both men and women.
1978 Commonwealth Games boxing gold medalist, Azumah Nelson, urged the nation’s sportsmen/women to train well and represent Ghana at the Games. He said, “do well and bring the gold to Ghana.”
Azumah’s call was backed by another former CWG (1965) medalist Ebenezer Okoh, who stressed that it is possible to combine academics and sports to achieve ones aim in life, “To the young ones, I want to tell you if you want to put your mind to it, you can do it,” he said.
GOC President, Ben Nunoo Mensah said Ghana will need to work hard to make qualification a certainty to the CWG, adding that some disciplines will have to go through a qualification process to qualify for Gold Coast 2018.
He said that several disciplines are not yet prepared for the Games, meaning a lot more effort will need to be put in to ensure they are ready.
“I wish that our participation in Gold Coast 2018 will be better than Glasgow 2014,” the GOC President told the gathering.
Mr. Nunoo Mensah announced the formation 9 working committees to aid the work of the Ghana Olympic Committee in its planning and activities, as well as media attaches to the various sports associations.
Meanwhile, Ghanaian powerlifter, Charles Narh Teye, has booked his place at the 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast after lifting 157kg in the 80kg class at the recent World Para Powerlifting World Cup in United Arab Emirates.
The qualifying weight for the 80kg class at Gold Coast 2018 is 140kg but Charles lifted 157kg to qualify.
The event was a mandatory requirement by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for para powerlifting athletes as it also served as qualification for Commonwealth Games affiliated countries.
According to Charles Narh, it took the intervention of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Isaac Asiamah who bought air tickets for him and his coach to attend the event.
This was after he (Charles) had informed the Minister about his plight on the sidelines of a meeting between the National Paralympic Committee and the Ministry of Sports with only three days to the event in Dubai.
Charles added that PWD Construction Engineers also supported his cause by providing some financial support towards his successful campaign in the UAE.
Despite challenges with funding in Ghana sports and the para movement, in particular, Charles has been hoisting the Ghana flag all over the world.
He last competed for Ghana at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, having become the first Ghanaian powerlifter to compete at the Olympics, at the London 2012 Games.