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Commonwealth Games: Bolt, Farah to steal show

BY: Maurice Quansah

The 20th Commonwealth Games open tomorrow in Glasgow with some of the world’s elite athletes expected to dominate the headlines as athletes from 71 countries compete for honours over two weeks.

Over the years, countries such as Australia, England, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa have been dominant forces at the Commonwealth Games, while athletes from Kenya, Jamaica and Nigeria have also showed class in recent years.

At the Hampden Park where the track and field events will take place, marquee names such as Jamaica’s sprints king, Usain Bolt, and sprints queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare and British middle distance great Mo Farah are expected to steal the show, even though other less stellar names could walk away with a fistful of medals.

Ghana occupies the 16th position on the all-time medals table with 55 medals (15 gold, 18 silver and 22 bronze) and may not be tipped to make a big splash in Glasgow, but Ghanaians are hoping that Team Ghana would make a better showing than the country’s last appearance in New Delhi four years ago when Ghana won one silver and three bronze medals. 

Some of the medal winners from Delhi 2010 Games, Anita Fordjour (1,500m wheelchair race) and sprinters Beatrice Gyaman and Janet Amponsah will team up with  Flings Owusu-Agyapong and Gemma Acheampong for the women’s 4x100m relay where Ghana hopes to improve upon the bronze medal won four years ago.

Even though Ghana no longer boasts big athlete names such as Ignisious Gaisah and Margaret Simpson, who have switched nationality, Ghanaian officials are hopeful of winning more medals in Glasgow than the country achieved at the last event in New Delhi.

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At this year’s Games, Ghana will be breaking new grounds by competing in 12 disciplines, including track and road cycling, triathlon, shooting, swimming, in addition to traditional sports such as table tennis, power lifting, badminton, boxing, weightlifting and athletics.