Ghana’s weightlifting gold medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games inAustralia, Majetie Fetrie, was on Saturday laid to rest at Igobo-Akure in Ondo State, Nigeria, with no sports official from Ghana in attendance.
The absence of Ghana’s officials at the funeral was received with dismay and shock by the family of the deceased.
Indeed, there was said to be a disturbing undertone of condemnation from mourners ahead of the burial when the MC enquired whether there was any official from Ghana to give a tribute to Majetie.
When contacted, a disappointed Ghana Weightlifting Federation (GWF) President, Ben Nunoo Mensah, explained that he could not make it to the funeral on the grounds of ill-health, but duly informed the Ministry of Youth and Sports about the need to send a delegation to Ondo State.
The sector ministry, the Times Sports was told, claimed they did not have enough funds to attend the funeral.
A combined team drawn from the National Sports Authority (NSA) and the Sports Ministry was expected to pay their last respects to the fallen weightlifter who won Ghana’s only weightlifting gold in the nation’s Commonwealth Games history.
However, there was not a single representation at the funeral – a situation that has cast the nation in bad light.
It is recalled that the Sports Ministry sent a high-powered delegation led by Deputy Sports Minister Perry Okudzeto, to London in September 2019, to attend the funeral of former Black Stars striker Junior Agogo. Agogo, a bronze medal winner for Ghana at the 2008 Nations Cup of Nations, died after suffering from stroke.
“I’m sad and totally shocked by this development. This is simply incredible. How much is the nation going to spend to honour one of its fallen heroes who had brought so much honour to the nation?,” Australia-based Bernard Fetrie, an adopted brother of the deceased, quizzed.
Bernard Fetrie was captain of Team Ghana during the 2006 Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia, where Majetie clinched gold.
India-based Johnson Abotsie, who won all three weightlifting medals (two silver and bronze) for Ghana at the Abuja 2003 All Africa Games, said “Ghana should bow its head in shame for failing to show up in Nigeria to mourn with the family of Majetie.”
Majetie died in Nigeria on Christmas day – December 25, last year.
Until his demise, Majetie, who was a coach in the United States, was struck by a bout of stroke and decided to fly down to Nigeria – his ancestral home, to seek herbal cure for his ailment.
In the course of treatment, however, the naturalised Ghanaian weightlifter – who was also known as the ‘Iron Doctor’ died in his sleep.
Previously known as Najeti Ogbogu, Majetie was invited to Ghana by then boss of the Ghana Weightlifting Association (GWA), Clifford Aboagye – to help build the fledgling sport – the weightlifter having just retired prematurely from the sport in Nigeria.
Without any hesitation, Majetie landed in the country in 2002 where he met the likes of Michael Johnson Abotsi , Bernard Fetrie, Albert Abotsi and later Juliana Arkoh, among other prized weightlifters.
He was later adopted by the Fetrie family and naturalised later for Ghana – inspiring a fast-flying renaissance of weightlifting in the country.
BY JOHN VIGAH