Three Ghanaian national athletes are set to leave Accra for Kansas City in the USA to begin studying and training towards the 2016 Olympic Games, this weekend.
The trio-Javelin thrower John Ampomah, sprinter Doreen Safowaa Agyei and decathlete Atsu Nyamadi- were selected out of an initial large pool of athletes that included Janet Amponsah, Solomon Afful, Dorcas Gyimah, Isaac Nkansah, Beatrice Gyaman, among others, all of whom were considered for the scholarships.
The athletes will have the opportunity to further their education and enhance their career development, while also honing their athletics skills at Neosho County College in Kansas.
John Ampomah, who is a Constable in the Ghana Police Service, performed remarkably well in 2012, breaking the national record with a throw of 69m before setting two new records later throwing 70.64m and 73.69m.
In the process, the Mampong-based Policeman who was coached by former national javelin record holder Richard Agyapong, won a silver medal on his debut at the 18th African Athletics Championship in Benin, in 2012.
Sprinter Doreen Safowaa Agyei holds the enviable record of breaking the Ashanti Regional Inter Colleges 100m and the Super Zonal 200m records which were previously held by National sprint Queen Vida Anim.
Doreen run 11.14 secs to beat the previous mark of 11.85 in 2012, and as well did 23.89 secs to smash the previous mark of 24.00.
Atsu Nyamadi, 19, is a promising athlete who made the headlines at the last African Athletics Championship when he competed in the Decathlon competition alongside more against experienced opponents.
Against all odds, the former T.I. Ahmadiya Senior High School student pushed his way through and clinched second place in the men’s 1500m, giving his South African rival hot chase for his money. He specialises in field events and has the potential to become the men’s version of national heptathlete, Margaret Simpson.
The initiative was made possible through the effective collaboration between the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ghana Olympic Committee and the Ghana Athletics Association.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports’ involvement was at the highest level, with the previous Sports Minister Hon. Kofi Humado and his former Deputy (and now Minister Designate for Communication) Dr. Omane Boamah both intimately involved in facilating the success of this endeavor.
The then-Minister, Hon. Kofi Humado initiated the process when he wrote to the Ghana Olympic Committee in September 2012, shortly after the Olympic Games, asking the latter to identify five athletes for sponsorship towards long-term preparation for Rio 2016.
The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) worked with the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) to offer scholarships to five prospective athletes to kick start Ghana’s preparations towards the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
GAA President, Professor Francis Dodoo told liquidsportsghana.com that the Association’s primary considerations included young athletes who had potential to explode in the next 2-4 years, and who completed school within the last 2-3 years.
After initial conversations the athletes, only four demonstrated serious commitment and went through the rigorous process to meet the requirements to qualify for the scholarships and also to acquire visas for the trip.
Officials of the GAA have commended the efforts of both the out-gone Minister and Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Kofi Humado and Dr. Omane Boamah, respectively, for their untiring efforts in communicating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the US Embassy, and the Ghana Police Service, to make protocol arrangements, secure release of those in the Police force, and to help secure tickets.