Dear President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, I want to thank you for the reward to Olympics bronze medalist Samuel Takyi, especially your decision to invest into his future career through a career development fund.
I was happy to hear that part of the reward because it shows how passionate and committed you are to see Takyi make it after his amateur career.
To me, that fund could be used as a starter to his professional career after announcing his decision to turn professional and I believe the $20,000 seed money invested by the President will yield results if put to good use.
Despite the importance of the state having a fund to see to the development of a national hero, I have my reservations about some of the details of the reward.
For instance, I wasn’t in favour of the President honouring the young boxer with a car when he could have been given a house by the state.
Knowing the consequences of owning a car at age 20, it is not advisable to me to set this young athlete up to the dangers of the world looking at the bright future ahead.
I was also wondering how he could maintain the car considering the high cost of maintaining a vehicle in the country. In my view, owning a house to single-handedly end a nation’s 29-year wait for an Olympics medal could be more deserving than being given a car.
That house could have sorted Takyi for life even if he is not able to make it big at the professional ranks as expected of him. But with the gift from the President already decided, I pray much attention is paid to Takyi’s career development fund and how it could be used to transform his talent.
I am much more concerned about the fund than the physical cash because I hope the President’s plan to monitor Takyi’s career through that investment is given the needed attention to yield results.
Over the years, we continue to hear how athletes struggle to access investment funds put together on their behalf by the state and it remains my biggest fear in the youngster’s case.
Takyi must not suffer a similar fate. The President must ensure his promise does not turn out to be mere rhetoric but a plan that is executed to perfection to get the best out of Takyi.
Just as D.K Poison, Azumah Nelson and Ike Quartey were all sponsored and supported by the state at different stages of their careers, Takyi needs that guidance to excel and that is what the fund must look at.
I think the whole fund thing must not be left vague. As a country, we need to know who will be in charge of it and the modalities of the disbursement.
It is very crucial to know all that because athletes have struggled to get rewards from the state despite the promises made to them and I hope the President intervenes when it gets to that stage.
Combining amateur and pro
Now that Takyi has decided to move up to the paid ranks, he needs the best of handlers to get to the top just as any other successful athlete in the world.
I spoke to a boxing manager and promoter about Takyi’s prospects as a professional but I was touched by his comments and want to share with the youngster if only he would consider it as an option.
The person suggested that Takyi can turn pro and still fight at the next Olympics and I felt it was a good idea looking at Duke Ragan at the recently-held Olympics in Tokyo.
The American who defeated the Ghanaian 4-1 to finish as a silver medalist came to the games with a 4-0 pro record and I think Takyi can imitate him if he wants.
By the next Olympics in France, Takyi would have amassed so much experience to finish as a gold medalist if the state could invest heavily into him.
But in all that, whatever he decides to focus on must be accepted and supported by the state to enable him to excel.