Deputy Sports Minister satisfied with Ghana’s performance

oppong AsamoahDEPUTY Minister of Youth and Sports, Vincent Oppong Asamoah, has said though Ghana, has not been regular on the medal podium, he was satisfied with the level of performance of the athletes at the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Ghana won two bronze medals in Judo and boxing at the end of the competition.

The minister said though the medal drought was disturbing, the ages of the athletes gives him enough confidence for the future.

“I have seen very young and talented athletes with high prospects for the future.

“We have very young swimmers in the team and I believe when given the needed training and exposure, they will take the nation far in future competitions”, he stated.

The minister said, the athletes could have done better, if they had been given enough competition adding that there was the need to create the necessary structures to prepare athletes adequately for future competition.

He said as part of the plans for the future, they will develop measures to enhance the knowledge of the coaches in the country.

“We need to develop programmes and activities aimed at developing the skills and competences of our coaches, if we are to have athletes who can compete at the highest level.

“We also need to collaborate with other countries in the area of technical development so we can have top notch coaches attached to the various sporting disciplines to help in the development of athletes in the country”, he stated.

*Eight of the eleven Ghanaian athletes who started University in the US barely 8 weeks ago participated in the US Junior College National Championships in New York this past weekend.

Six of these young athletes who formed the nucleus of Ghana’s World Junior Championships team won seven gold medals and national titles, five silver medals, and one bronze medal at the prestigious JUCO Championships that ended on 8th March.

Elizabeth Dadzie and Lydia Mato crowned it all by winning the Best Overall Field athlete and Best Overall Track Athlete awards, respectively. Sprint queen Janet Amponsah also put down a national indoor record of 23.81s, enroute to her blowout victory.

But, it all started on the first of the day of the two-day competition when long jump sensation Elizabeth Dadzie stunned US college athletics observers with a dramatic win in the Women’s Pentathlon, despite sub-par performances in the first 2 of the 5 events.

After an average performance of 10.53m in the shot put (3rd event), she roared to the lead with a massive long jump (4th event) of 6.23m; a lifetime best for her, and the furthest distance by a Ghanaian since 2011. She capped off the pentathlon with a 2:30.68 800m run.

Hours after her splendid performance, Dadzie returned to the field to pick up silver in the individual long jump event. She missed the title by 2 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch). Despite a bruising first day, Dadzie came back on Saturday to also pick up a silver medal in the triple jump, where she was leading until the very last jump of the competition.

Meanwhile, Lydia Mato blitzed a quality field that included two Kenyans and an Ethiopian to win gold in the women’s 3000m and 5000m races respectively in the first day of the competition.

Mato secured her third individual award on the second day, after winning the women’s one mile event leaving seasoned US collegiate coaches to wonder whether what they were witnessing was for real; that is, the emergence of quality middle and long distance runners from Ghana with the potential for long term success in the US collegiate system and beyond.

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