One of Ghana’s weightlifting greats – Michael Johnson Abotsi, has returned from a long sojourn to help lift the sport to another level.
The 45-year-old Abotsi made history at the 2003 Abuja All Africa Games in Nigeria, snatching all the nation’s first-ever weightlifting medals (two silver and bronze) at an absorbing contest.
After participating in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, he later left for South Africa and then to India.
“I’m back now to help develop the sport further,” he told the Times Sports yesterday.
Two of the nation’s star lifters – Christian Amoah and Forrester Christopher Osei have qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Games in Japan, and Abotsi’s presence should be good news to them.
Abotsi, who arrived in the country from India last week, was one of the stalwarts behind the development of the sport in Ghana in the early 2000, later becoming coach of the weightlifting team – after the exit of Majetie Fetrie to the USA.
In March 2006, Fetrie lifted a total of 309kg to take Ghana’s first ever weightlifting gold at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, 1kg better than India’s Mohammed Asdullah and 10kg clear of Muhammad Irfan of Pakistan.
The African Games medallist was last year roped in by Mohun Bagan FC, an Indian premier league side, as their physical trainer for the 2019-20 football season.
The Ghanaian has vast experience of strength and conditional coaching in various countries.
Before agreeing to the deal with Mohun Bagan, Abotsi was working as the strength and conditional coach for Highland Park Football Club, Johannesburg for the past eight seasons.
Abotsi previously worked as head physical training coach for the Nigeria Police weightlifting sport team.
He was also the Strength and Gym conditional coach for Orlando Pirates Football Club, Johannesburg, having earlier worked as a conditional power training coach for Gold Lions Rugby Team.
One of his specialties is to prepare athletes and sports persons to avoid injuries and enhance their power and fitness. Abotsi is also an expert in fast injury recovery and rehabilitation process.
BY JOHN VIGAH