About 11 members of Ghana’s team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games returned to the country yesterday.
Uncharacteristic of such arrivals, the group led by the National Sports Authority (NSA) Director General, Prof. Peter Twumasi returned with no fans at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to welcome them.
Other members of the arriving team included the Ghana Olympic Committee boss, Mr Ben Nunoo Mensah, Mr George Lamptey, President of the Ghana Boxing Federation (GBF) and Mr Julius Baba Apidogo, an official with the Ghana Athletics team.
The other members included two athletes from Ghana’s 4×100 relay team, Emmanuel Yeboah and Sarfo Ansah, GOC General Secretary Mohammed Sahnoon and Mr Afelibiek Ababu, the Athletics Team leader.
Other members of the contingent including the bronze medal winner, Samuel Takyi, will arrive on Thursday.
Speaking to the media on arrival, the NSA boss, Prof Twumasi thanked Ghanaians for the show of support and described the Tokyo 2020 Games as a memorable one.
“We are grateful to all Ghanaians for the immense support, especially to the President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and the Sports Minister, Mr Mustapha Ussif for the tremendous support they have showered on the team.”
“We lifted the flag of Ghana and conducted ourselves very well. The good news was that Ghana won a bronze medal through Samuel Takyi in the Men’s featherweight to break a 29-year jinx.
“Also, the athletes brought honour to Ghanaians when they qualified for the finals of the 4×100 relay. Ghana last got to the finals in 1996. Although we failed to win a medal, we can attest that, they did extremely well,” he said.
He said the team will work hard to represent Ghana in more than five of the 40 disciplines at the 2024 Games in Paris and assured Ghanaians will win more medals.
Prof. Twumasi noted that with the support of the Sports Minister, Mr. Ussif, schools sports will be revived with the infrastructure developments undertaken by the President to promote sports in the country, create job avenues and place Ghana on the world map.
President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Mr. Ben Nunoo-Mensah applauded Ghanaians for the faith shown in the team.
“Ghanaian didn’t expect such a performance from the team, let alone breaking a 29-year jinx. That came through the hard-work of these individual athletes.”
Mr Nunoo Mensah was hopeful that the All African Games set to take place in Ghana in 2023 and the 2020 Birmingham Commonwealth Games to be staged in London, would provide appropriate platforms for Ghana to haul medals.
He hoped that preparation will start early for the Paris Olympics in 2024 where Ghana would compete for places on the medal table with the best in the world.
One of the athletes, Sarfo Ansah, thanked Ghanaian for the massive support, stating that Ghana was capable of winning medals when the needed support was given.
Ghana presented 14 athletes to compete in five disciplines including judo, athletics, boxing, swimming and weightlifting and won one bronze medal in boxing.
BY LINUS SIAW NARTEY