13th African Games logo
13th African Games logo

Arm-wrestlers to the rescue

If you don’t know who Mr Charles Osei Asibey is, and you are a Ghanaian, you had better go find out about him.


We all owe Mr Charles Osei Asibey big time, as my friend would put it. 

Mr Charles Osei Asibey is the President of the Ghana Arm-wrestling Federation.

I confess that up until this weekend, I had never paid any attention to Arm-wrestling, and here I am now, a great fan of the sport.

The turning point for me came when Ghana’s Arm-wrestlers took Team Ghana’s medal count at the ongoing African Games from 5 to 46! The Arm-wrestlers alone got eight gold, 19 silver and 13 bronze medals.

I decided I had to find out about arm wrestling.

 That is how I came to discover Mr Charles Osei Asibey and found out that the Ghana Arm-wrestling team had been performing quite well in various competitions.

 Indeed, Mr Charles Osei Asibey had gone to the World Arm-wrestling Federation Congress in Almaty, Kazakstan, last year and won the bid for Ghana to host the World Arm-wrestling championship this year.

I am ashamed to say I missed all that, but nine months after the event, I am glad to quote what Mr Osei Asibey said when he came back from his exploits in Kazakstan: “This is a good thing to happen to Ghana Arm-wrestling, especially as a young Federation, and we will be the first sporting discipline to host a World Championship in Ghana.”

I intend to get tickets to go and watch when the Arm-wrestling World Championship is staged in Ghana.        

The truth is that the arm-wrestling people have only made things easier and happier for me.

I would vote for and enjoy the African Games anyway, even if we didn’t win any medals.

Ha! I can afford to say that now that we have safely got 46, we can hope for some more.

Sporting competition

I enjoy every sporting competition.

 I enjoy the four-yearly World Cup madness, I enjoy the Olympic Games and the hype that comes with it, I enjoy the Africa Cup of Nations(AFCON), I enjoy Wimbledon, I enjoy, or used to enjoy, Inter-schools and used to enjoy Inter-house.

I was not good at sports at school, even though I did play Table Tennis for Mawuli School and won one match against OLA Girls.

 I played Rounders, Netball, Volleyball, but every girl in the school had to play and I have mercifully forgotten what my time was for the 100 yards when everyone was obliged to run it so they could select those with prospects.

I still think of Fred Buatsi, Amelia Adzie and Victor Akonta with awe; they were the great athletes at the school during my time. 

I was no good but I cheered every performance and I voted for bringing sporting competitions to the country.

Football does attract far more interest and hype than Arm-wrestling will ever do but I am sure if the Games we are hosting now didn’t come so soon after the AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire, there would have been a lot more interest around the world.

I remember when South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010.


Every programme maker on the BBC found a reason to be in South Africa; from news to food, to travel, to business, to history, to drama, to science, to environment, to music, to sports, they all found their way there. 

How I wish the programme-makers had used the opportunity of these Games to come and discover the joys of Ghana under the guise of covering the Games.

Yes, I know we have to suspend judgement on a lot of things when evaluating sporting competitions, but I am afraid I happen to believe it is a good thing that for one month, every four years, much of the world talks about one subject and one subject alone, and that is football, or Olympics, or AFCON, or in our case, the African Games.

Important things

Yes, we should probably be concentrating on more important things (please let me know what your definition is of important things) and yes, the money spent on building stadiums and other sporting facilities could have been used to build houses for the poor.


 I am afraid I will not accept that.

If we were to tackle building houses for the poor before everything else, we would never build a theatre, a museum, yes, a cathedral, a stadium, a swimming pool, or maybe even a beauty salon. 

Normal sensibilities

When it comes to sporting events I surprise myself by just how tolerant I can be.

Let me cite an old example of the extent to which I am prepared to suspend my normal sensibilities.

On the day of Ghana’s first match at the World Cup in South Africa, my late mother, at the time an 88-year-old, was marooned on the sixth floor of one of the buildings at Ghana's leading hospital for six hours after she was discharged because the lift wasn't working.


She had to be gingerly brought down the stairs in a wheelchair.

The four macho men we hired to bring her down stopped with two flights of stairs left, renegotiated the fee they had charged and took the money before bringing her down to the ground floor. 

I still managed enough enthusiasm to watch the Ghana match and cheer and groan with the crowds once we got home.

Yes, the money used to take supporters to South Africa to cheer the Black Stars could, or should have been used to buy lifts for the hospitals, so my mother wouldn’t be stuck on the sixth floor after she was discharged.

But I do believe we are allowed to have one month or two weeks of madness every once in a while.

I do feel so sorry for those who seem determined not to enjoy the African Games we are hosting and see nothing but the hitches that come with every organisation of a major event. 


In my experience, apart from the 2006 World Cup in Germany which went like clockwork, there haven’t been any of these games that were problem-free.

I wonder if anyone here remembers or knows about the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

It started with an initial budget of $300 million and ended up with a $1.5 billion deficit. As I recall, this was generally attributed to poor planning and corruption and it took Montreal, the Canadian city, until 2006 to pay off the debts. 

I wonder if anyone here remembers the Athens Olympic Games.

I do not doubt that if Ghana had won the AFCON Accra 2008, instead of the bronze, nobody would remember that the lights went off during the first match played at the Sekondi stadium.

The first week of the recent AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire was marked with transport chaos, but who now remembers any of that?

We shall only remember the magic of the Elephants becoming the Africa Champions. 

I do wish there wouldn’t be any more power outages at any of the event centres, and if indeed, the hockey pitch is as bad as the South Africans are claiming, someone needs to do some serious explanations and take some punishment.

I am minded to forgive a lot, looking at all the top-class sporting facilities we have got in one fell swoop.

If you are still feeling unhappy about the Games, take your children and go and watch the athletics that has started. Doubtless, the Kenyans and Ethiopians will be dazzling and showing up on the medal table. I am counting on Benjamin Azamati to cheer us all up. 

And please, let me assure you that an Arm-wrestling gold medal weighs as much as a weightlifting gold medal.

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...