GHANAIAN legend sports broadcaster, Joachim Awuley Lartey, was last Thursday night honoured and celebrated by Omy TV for his outstanding contribution to sports development in the country.
Popularly known as Joe Lartey, the 92-year-old sprightly-looking man was celebrated on his birthday (June 6) – at the maiden Omy TV Legendary Night – in front of a packed hall at the Alisa Hotel in Accra.
Standing ovations, prolonged applause, series of stimulating eulogies and good-will messages freely poured out from sports administrators, ex-national footballers and renowned sports journalists, in honour of the revered nonagenarian.
Chief Executive Officer of Omy TV, Ms Joyce Aku Mensah, said it was important to honour the nation’s legends when they were alive “and not wait and pay tributes to their memories when they are dead and gone”.
“Legends should be celebrated when alive for them to feel that their efforts have not been in vain or overlooked,” she stressed, lauding the “outstanding contribution” of Mr Lartey to sports broadcasting spanning over three decades.
He was presented with a beautiful plaque accompanied with a rich citation.
The celebrant, who is also known as ‘Over to You’ expressed deep delight at the honour done him, praising Omy TV for putting the event together.
“I’m so overwhelmed by this honour that I can only say, ‘thank you’.
“Indeed, I wish there’s someone here who can invoke the spirit of my late dad, who didn’t want me to do sports, to come and see this day.”
Mr Lartey mushroomed into Ghana’s most-sought-after sports broadcaster in the 60s and 70s as his name followed the classic phrase ‘Over to you’ on the state-owned Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).
Indeed, it was at the Sports Department of GBC that Joe flourished as a commentator. It was the way he and Festus Addae, another celebrated commentator, handled commentary together that the term “over to you Joe Lartey” became popular. It was held that anytime Festus was handing over to Joe, he would use the expression.
Ms Mensah disclosed that next year’s Legendary Night is going to be bigger and better as Omy TV would continue to celebrate sportsmen and women who have carved out a monumental piece of history for the nation.
According to her, Omy TV has dedicated 70 per cent of its content to the promotion of Ghanaian sports both within and outside of the continent, appealing to Ghanaians to patronise the station for the best in sports programmes.
The enthralling night was graced by President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Ben Nunoo-Mensah and ex-national players like Joe Addo, Odartey Lamptey, Ali Jaarah, Augustine Arhinful, Lawrence Adjah Tetteh, Sammy Adjei (goalkeeper), Ablade Morgan and Turkey-based Ghana midfielder Bernard Mensah, among many other players, sports administrators and music icons including Tic Tac.
BY JOHN VIGAH