President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says Ghana will be ready to host a successful and memorable competition when countries on the continent converge in Accra in 2023 for the African Games.
The President gave the assurance when he cut the sod for the construction of sporting facilities at Borteyman in Accra at a total cost of US$195 million for the 13th edition of the African Games.
The facilities include 400 meter 6-lane athletics warm-up track with playing field for football, washrooms, spectator stand for 500 people, 1000 seater 10-lane swimming pool, 8-lane warm up swimming pool, and a 500 seater temporary dome for handball, judo, karate, and taekwondo.
The facilities also include a 1,000 seater multi-purpose sports hall for badminton, boxing, volleyball, and weightlifting, and five tennis courts complex including 1,000 centre courts. There will also be space for children’s playground.
The games will involve 24 sporting disciplines with maximum participation of 55 African nations, with about 5,000 athletes expected to participate.
President Akufo-Addo revealed that the original plan for a 50,000 capacity stadium had been redesigned because construction delayed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, he said the government, acting on a proposal from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, had decided to upgrade the facilities at the University of Ghana Stadium in addition to the facilities at Borteyman, for the event.
“The original plan of government was to construct all the sporting facilities of the African Games on this 100 acres plot of land released to the Ministry of Youth and Sports by the University of Ghana.”
“The project was to comprise a 50,000 capacity Olympic Stadium Complex for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as for the athletics and football competitions. However, the period lost due to COVID-19 has made it impossible to construct the Olympic Stadium Complex in time for the African Games in 2023.”
“In place of the Olympic Stadium Complex here in Borteyman, the University of Ghana Sports Stadium would be upgraded to international standards for some events for the African Games,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the model adopted for the games was a framework of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Universities of Ghana and Development Studies to be involved in managing and maintaining the facilities to ensure sustainability and continuity.
He described the move as the best legacies for the games to justify the total investment of US$195 million to ensure sustainability into the future.
“I assure the African Union that Ghana is ready, willing and able to host the most successful and the most memorable of African Games,” he said.
One of the major legacies for hosting the event, according to the President, would be the start of the University for Sports Development, adding that “when completed, it would be the second largest of such university in Africa and amongst a few in the world.”
The university, he said, would have lecture halls, students’ hostels, lecturers’ bungalows and academic facilities.
“I am also very happy to announce that the 2023 African Games would be a very special landmark in the annals of the African Games as it will for the first time serve as the qualifiers for the participation of African countries in the 2024 Paris Olympics Games. It has never happened before,” he said.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, thanked the government and Parliament for the commitments to provide the facilities to host a successful tournament.
BY YAW KYEI