President John Dramani Mahama yesterday inaugurated the Trust Sports Emporium, a modern boxing gymnasium and sports complex at Korle-Bu in Accra that is aimed at promoting the lesser-funded sporting disciplines in the country.
The multi-purpose sports complex is expected to boost efforts at promoting sporting activities in Accra as well as nurturing talents of the youth in the various disciplines.
Located near Bukom, a fishing community that has produced world champions like Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey, among others, it is aimed at providing a platform for the redevelopment of boxing in particular and sports in general to revive its dwindling fortunes.
Among other facilities, the complex has a 4,000 seating capacity boxing arena, 800 capacity hall that houses a basketball, volleyball and table tennis courts.
The complex also has a two-storey physiotherapy block, a gym, swimming pool for training and competition, changing rooms, a 300-capacity conference hall, and clinic, a restaurant and shops, as well as a nine-unit Junior and Senior High School block to educate needy students that have sporting talents.
The complex is a flagship facility owned by the Trust Sports Emporium Limited, a joint venture company controlled by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and European Transportation Consultancy Polska (ETC Polska) of Poland.
President Mahama, inaugurating the complex amidst excitement among the large number of sports enthusiasts and sports personalities, chiefs and residents who filled the boxing arena, expressed delight at the successful completion of the project.
He said it falls in line with government’s policy to boost the sports industry by providing the relevant facilities to support the development of sportsmen and women.
He gave the assurance that the government remained committed to the development of the sports sector, saying more interventions would be rolled out in his next term.
He cited the passage of Sports Bill into law as part of the foundation built by the government to revamp the sports industry.
The law will help establish the National Sports Commission to provide for the development, promotion and management of amateur and professional sports.
It will also to enable the country to operate its sports in conformity with international law.
In addition, the law encourages increased participation and improved performance in sports and to encourage the private sector to contribute to the funding of sports, and according to President Mahama, the stage has been set to offer the sports industry a well deserved facelift.
Touching on plans to revamp the education of the youth in sports, he said a number of the Community Day Senior High Schools would be dedicated to the teaching of sports where young people with identified sporting talents would be support to enrol for effective combined nurturing of their talents and provision of regular education.
President Mahama commended all the partners in the project, particularly SSNIT and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly for the foresight, and urged other Assemblies and institutions to emulate.
A number of thrilling boxing bouts were staged on the night to mark the opening of the facility.
By Edmund Mingle and Michael Abayateye