Tokyo 2020: Team Ghana – Just better than last six Olympic Games
Ghana’s contingent to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games stole the show at the opening ceremony parade at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium in Japan on July 23, 2021with flag bearer, Nadia Eke displaying her golden nose mask and fashionable foot steps.
In spite of the Covid 19 challenges, the 32nd Olympiad was held successfully in Tokyo. Ghana was represented by 14 Ghanaian athletes, all of them made positive advances in their respective sporting disciplines.
Ghana was represented in Athletics, Boxing, Judo, Swimming and Weightlifting. After training in Inawashiro Japan and Baltimore USA, the committed athletes set new national records and personal bests to prove that they were really among the best in the world, and it is worth representing the African nation with 30 million people at this year’s Olympic Games.
Generally, it could be described as one of the most successful outings by Ghana in recent as the nation had nothing in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Boxing has always been the hope of the nation, and for the first time in 29 years, the sport of boxing once again placed Ghana on the medal table after Samuel Takyi won bronze in the men’s featherweight division, having reached the semi-final stage.
Despite losing to America’s Duke Ragan in the semis, Takyi joins the likes of Prince Amartey (Bronze), Clement Quartey (Silver) and Eddie Blay (Bronze) who have all won medals at Olympics for Ghana .
Sulemanu Tetteh who was making his second appearance at the Olympics having debuted in London 2012 could only reach the round of 16 having defeated Domincan Republic Boxer Rodrigoi Marte de la Rose in the flyweight division.
Shakul Samed who drew a bye in the Round of 32 couldn’t progress into the quarter-finals after he suffered a knockdown against Turkish boxer Bayram Maikan in the Round of 16 of the men’s heavyweight division.
Ghana was the only African nation that had a medal in boxing – a splendid achievement for the continent.
Field and Track
Nadia Eke who was Ghana’s flag bearer at this year’s Olympics competed in the women’s triple jump event but couldn’t progress to the next round.
The experienced jumper made three illegal attempts during her sessions therefore had to exit the competition having subsequently retired from the sport.
Benjamin Azamati who holds the national record of 9.97s in 100m could only place fourth in the Heats with a time of 10.13s as he couldn’t progress to the semi-finals.
Joseph Paul Amoah came third in the men’s 200m heat with an impressive time of 20.35s which enabled him feature in the semis but missed out on a place in the finals having finished fourth.
Ghana’s quartet of Sean Sarfo-Antwi, Benjamin Azamati, Emmanuel Yeboah aka ‘T 20’ and Captain Joseph Paul Amoah reached the finals of the men’s 4x100m for the first time since Atlanta1996 with an impressive 38.08 to set a new national record.
Regrettably, the quartet could not perform as expected as they placed 7th and were disqualified for baton exchange in the wrong area on the track.
Local based and winner of Ghana Fastest 2021, Sarfo Ansah and Joseph Manu were the reserves of the 4×100 relay team.
In swimming, Abeiku Jackson who was making his second appearance at Olympic Games after Rio 2016 came first in the heat of the 100m Butterfly beating his 53.53 seconds to set a new West African and National record, but his time of 53.39 seconds was not fast enough to progress to the next stage of the competition.
16 years old Female swimmer Unilez Takyi who was the youngest athlete, and holder of the national record in the 50m freestyle (27.49s) placed eight in the heats with a time 27.85 seconds, and she was also unable to press to the next stage of the event.
Ghana’s only weightlifter at this year’s Olympics, Christian Amoah was making his second appearance at the Olympic Games after Rio, 2016.
He met stronger contenders and could manage to place fourth in Men’s 96kg category with a snatch of 145kg and Clean & Jerk of 170 totaling 315 which could not aid his progress to the next round.
But Amoah moved from 148th to the 12th position, which is the good news
Sensei Kwadjo Anani who represented Ghana in the 90kg could not progress to the next round of the competition having lost to a more experienced South Korean Gwak Dong-Han.
Despite the setback, Sensei Kwadjo who got injured in training before his event is one of the most successful Judo athletes in Ghana having won a silver medal in the African Championships in Senegal.
Team Ghana was led by Chef de Mission, Mr. Michael Aggrey, Administrator Miss Farida Iddriss, Covid Laison Office (CLO) Captain Rtd Haruna Adamu, Two Medics; Dr. Jonathan Quarey and Dr. Julia Derban, One Press Attache Sammy Heywood Okine and Seyram Fortune, Interpreter.
Coaches: Athletics – Andrew Owusu and Julius Baba, Boxing – Dr. Ofori Asare and Vincent Akai Nettey, Swimming – Daniel Opare, Weightlifting- Kyle Pierce (American), Judo -Victorio Serenelli (Italian).
The five disciplines were represented by their respective Presidents: Athletics; Mr. Afelibiek Ababu, Boxing; Mr. George Lamptey, Swimming; Mrs Delphina Quaye, Judo; Mr. Emmanuel Tetteh, Weightlifting was represented by former President, Mr. Ben Nunoo Mensah as current President, Jerry Ahmed Shaib could not attend.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) invited Mr. Ben Nunoo Mensah and Secretary General, Mohammed Sahnoon.
The Minister of Youth & Sports, Hon Mustapha Ussif was in Japan briefly to motivate the athletes and returned, leaving behind Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA) Professor Peter Twumasi, and Ms Francisca Atuluk, Deputy Director (the Exchequer) at the MYS.