FEATURE: Why Lartey, Sathoud, Samed deserve Olympic spot

BY: Bernard Neequaye

While I feel the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to cancel qualifiers was a good one, I am interested in knowing what becomes of the yet to qualify amateur boxers from Ghana.

From the information I picked from the handlers of the Black Bombers, the international body would consider picking deserving athletes from their previous qualifiers to compete at the games.

Should that happen, I believe Team Ghana will definitely have more fighters representing them at the Olympics due to splendid performances from some of the boxers who failed to qualify in Dakar last year.

The likes of Jessie Lartey, Shakul Samed and US-based female boxer, Dr Ornella Sathoud will all have the chance to feature in Tokyo having finished semi-finalists in the Dakar qualifier.

It will be of interest to see how the pickings will be made. After all, the  well-placed semi-finalists at the qualifier is the criterion to be used.

In that case, I believe the three Ghanaian fighters deserve a place per their performances and I will be looking forward to seeing them make the IOC list.

What I want to bring to the attention of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) is that they should collaborate with the international body to get these deserving fighters a dream place at the Olympics.

I am saying this because, there have been instances in the past when our fighters complained about being cheated by some IOC officials at the games and I don’t want to hear that.

Those complaints have mostly blamed Ghanaian officials for not protesting enough to help fighters and the fact that boxers are about to be picked gets me worried.

I have faith in the IOC to deliver justice in picking deserving athletes but I only want the GOC to be extra vigilant to avoid some boxers being unfairly denied the chance to compete at the Olympics.

However, there is a question to be answered and it has to do with the chances of these three fighters should they be chosen to compete at the games.

Jessie Lartey

At age 28, Lartey is ripe to compete at the Olympics after several years with the Black Bombers. After competing in the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, it will be a fine opportunity for him to make an appearance at the Olympics.

Lartey has had stints at the African Games and that shows how experienced he is on the international stage. It is obvious the only competition left for him to compete in is the Olympics and getting the chance will go a long way to cement his amateur career.

At the Dakar qualifier, Lartey beat Morocco’s Mohamed Aboubacar and Freeman Mabvongwe of Zimbabwe before losing to Zambia’s Stephen Zimba at the semi-final stage.

He went on to lose his third place fight with Shadir Musa Bwogi of Uganda which prevented him from securing a place at the Olympics.
I think his inclusion in the team would add to Ghana’s quest to win more laurels at the games which, to me, should not be overlooked.

Dr Ornella Sathoud

Born to a Congolese father and a Ghanaian mother, Dr Sathoud moved to Delaware in the United States of America to further her education but continued to chase a dream in boxing.

Dr Sathoud’s name came up in the country when coach of the Black Bombers, Kwasi Ofori Asare, added her to a list of fighters for the 2019 edition of African Games in Morocco.

Her inclusion raised concerns but the PhD in Analytical Chemistry holder proved herself at the continental competition despite failing to win a medal.

The dream of becoming an Olympic athlete and a professional boxer are what keep Dr Sathoud going. At the qualifiers, Dr Sathoud secured a third place finish but was not enough to secure qualification.

Shakul Samed

Samed was introduced at the international stage during Ghana’s participation in the Africa Games in 2019 and won a bronze medal at light-heavyweight.

Coming from a boxing family, the young brother of professional boxers, Bastie Samir and Issah Samir, is destined for greatness having showed a lot of prospect for the future.

After a win over Souleymane Sy of Senegal at the qualifiers, Samed went on to beat Tanzania’s Yusuf Changalawe before narrowly losing to Abdelrahman Oraby of Egypt in the semis.

Samed missed an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics when he lost to Mohamed Assaghir of Egypt in their third place bout.