I feel great – Winnifred Ntumi

Winnifred Ntumi receiving her medals.
Photo supplied by Ntumi. Photographer: Misper Apawu.

The whole country was watching in disappointment, several days after the 13th African Games has started – as no Ghanaian athlete has won a medal yet. Story upon story, made the population even more despondent. The host nation’s athletes were getting kicked out of the medal zone in a number of disciplines, including badminton and table tennis.

Then there were stories of athletes competing without being provided kits or equipment. Most having to contest with their personal kits and equipment

But then things changed. Even though she has won medals for Ghana in the past, today’s was momentous. It is happening on home ground. Ghana is hosting the 13th edition of the Games, and as at that point the country had won no medal.

Winnifred Ntumi, who should aptly be called ‘The Golden Girl’, literally broke the gloom, winning three medals in one day, in the women’s weightlifting 39kg category.

“I am feeling great, excited and happy. I’m really happy,” 22-year-old Ntumi told Ghana Business News in an interview on messaging app WhatsApp.

This is the second time she is winning medals at the African Games. At the 2019 Africa Games in Morocco she won three bronze medals in the women’s 45kg category, making her the first Ghanaian to win a medal at the continental weightlifting competition.

At the 2018 Africa Youth Championship in Egypt she won a bronze medal in the women’s 48kg category.

She also won a bronze medal at the 2019 African Weightlifting Championship, in the 49kg category, making her the first Ghanaian to compete and win a medal at the championship.

“This is the second time I’m winning medals at the African games and the first athlete to win for Ghana,” the elated Ntumi said.

And Ntumi achieved these great feats without sufficient equipment. Like most of her compatriots representing the nation, she didn’t have all the kits and equipment she needed for the competition.

Without going into details, she said she didn’t have everything she needed, and most of what were provided to her “were not even my size.”

The unavailability of kits and equipment has been a common refrain among almost all Ghanaian athletes.

Ntumi winning a gold medal and two silver medals, under the circumstances, is more of an individual brilliance. A testimony to her resilience, determination, grit, focus and commitment to winning.

“I thank Ghanaians for their support but we need support for the lesser games as well. We really want them to come out and support us. They should not wait till they hear we have won medals before they come out,” Ntumi said.

By the close of today, March 10, 2024, Ghana has four medals. Abeku Jackson won a silver in the men’s butterfly 50m swimming category, the first ever for Ghana.

By Emmanuel K Dogbevi
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