Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) professional and amateur boxers of the year 2014 have expressed gratitude to the association and vowed to move a step further in their respective careers as they seek to get to the very top.
Commonwealth lightweight champion, Richard Commey and Abdul Wahid Omar were crowned by the SWAG at its 40th awards night held on Saturday as Professional Boxer of the Year and Amateur Boxer of the Year.
Commey was picked after winning the lightweight Commonwealth title while Omar topped the amateur rank after emerging one of Ghana’s two bronze winners at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Moments after receiving their awards, both boxers expressed delight, hoping to be inspired by the honour done them by the sports writers’ welfare body.
For Commey, he was not surprised because of his belief that when one works hard, his reward becomes visible for all.
“I knew I would one day win this prestigious award but never known when. I didn’t know it would be that soon. It will inspire me to aim for greatness,” Commey told the Times Sports.
Commey who is currently preparing for a fight in Germany said his rise to his current status has been very challenging, overcoming difficult training regimen to toughen up for some of the difficult opponents he beat on his way there.
“For now, I have no issue with complacency. It is out of my dictionary because I know that there are many tough boxers out there who I need to train hard to beat before getting the opportunity to wear the world title.”
Omar was elated not only because it was a reward for his hard work but because it was his first public honour.
“Many great boxers have walked this path before. The likes of Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey and others won this award and became world champions. This only signifies that I am on the right path; the path to stardom.”
According to Omar who trains with the Wisdom Boxing gym in Accra and a member of the Black Bombers, the national amateur boxing team, he was picked because of his sterling performance at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The award, he said, has come at an opportune time when the Bombers are training for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I expect that this award will spur me on in my career. Getting to the top is not an easy ride, it requires days and months of hard work. With the Rio Games starring at us, we will work harder to break the medal drought that seems to have hit the Bombers.”
The 2014 edition of the awards saw former Esperance of Tunisia defender, Harrison Afful smile home with the flagship Footballer of the Year award.
The Black Stars and Columbus Crew defender beat a stiff competition from Black Stars captain, Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew.
Augustine Okrah was the special choice for the First Capital Plus Premier League player of the Year against Abeiku Ainooson and Kwabena Adusei.
Athletics prodigy, Martha Bissah may have been disappointing in recent times but her gold medal feat at the youth Olympics, leading to Ghana’s only gold medal at that level wasbig enough to win her a double on the night, sweeping home the Discovery of the Year and Athlete of the Year awards.
Bissah’s exploit extended to her coach, Isaac Nii Odartey Lamptey, who was adjudged the Coach of the Year.
Para Tae-kwon-do athlete, Sharon Akwei won the Promising Star of the Year award as well as the Tae-kwon-do Player of the Year; Jennifer Cudjoe took home the Female Footballer of the Year while Razak Abugri won the Judoka of the Year award.
J.O Lamptey emerged the Referee of the Year award with former Accra Hearts of Oak goalie, Ali Jaraah winning the Dedication and Valour award. Elizabeth Opoku was Hockey player of the Year.
Special awards were also presented to Edmund Zankoh, Anthony Baffoe, Magnus Rex Danquah and Akolya Pattel for their contribution to sports in the country while the efforts of McDan Shipping Company and Dwadifo Adanfo were also recognized for promoting tennis and hockey in Ghana.