Ghana & “4 x 110 yards” Relay!

Ghana & “4 x 110 yards” Relay!

The African Games 2023 held in Ghana in March 2024 has come and gone with its joys, heartaches, controversies and drama. With a total of 68 medals comprising 19 Gold/29 Silver/20 Bronze, Ghana came sixth after Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria and Tunisia.


Male and female Gold medals for Ghana in high-jump for Rose Yeboah and Evans Yamoah Cadman gladdened Ghanaian hearts. So did Gold in female hockey and the female 4 x 100 metres relay, Joseph Amoah’s 200 metres Gold, and indeed all the medals we won. Perhaps, the men’s 4 x 100 metres relay defending champion, Ghana’s defeat by a “whisker” from unsmooth baton-changing by rivals Nigeria was the most painful defeat. 

The race sent me down memory lane to my 2020 article “Four x one-ten (4 x 110) yards relay race.” Part stated;


One of the highlights of my secondary school days was the annual Inter-Schools and Colleges Athletics competition simply called “INTER-CO.” Among others, it afforded us in Boys Schools the opportunity to improve on our “puppy love” expressed through letters to our friends in the Girls Schools, this time by warm innocent hugs.

The climax of the two-day competition was the sprint relay “4 x 110 yards” event.  With the introduction of the Metric system, it changed to 4 x 100 metres. The boys’ event which was the last for the two days was fiercely contested. This is not surprising considering Ghana’s past Athletics record in sprint relays internationally.

 Commonwealth Games

At the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, Ghana’s quartet of BK Mends, JA Addy, ECO Addy and SF Allotey did not only win gold, they set a new record of 39.8 seconds.  
Earlier in the 1962 Games in Perth, Australia, the quartet of Mike Ahey, BK Mends, Bashiru Bukari and Michael Okantey won silver. 

Featuring the fastest sprinters of any Games, a very important determinant of the winner in sprint relays was/is the smoothness with which batons are changed. A split second gained or lost in changing batons could determine who the gold or silver medalist is assuming they are equally matched. 


 Interestingly, when a team wins the event as Ghana did in Jamaica in 1966, the quartet joyously celebrates together emphasizing the importance of teamwork over individual effort. They do not go back to find out how fast each athlete ran his leg. 

 I served the Ghana Armed Forces for over four decades, and teamwork was always emphasized over individual brilliance. So, how come politicians have not learnt this simple principle of teamwork and always go back to make claims of what they achieved in government that others did not?


The founders of modern day Political-Philosophy in the C17th Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Paul Sartre etc taught man that, for humans to come out of the “state of nature” where the jungle law of survival of the fittest reigns making life “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” civilized society must graduate from the animal-kingdom-situation to statehood.

 Individuals cede part of their freedom to the State which must provide for the collective good, security and services like roads, water, electricity which individuals cannot provide for themselves. The state does this through governments which tax individuals. Governance must therefore be a continuum, not “hop-step-and-jump!” It is our taxes which governments use to administer states, and not personal monies of individuals in periodic governments.

So, how come this self-aggrandising attitude making statements like humorously put below?

“I killed two million adult grass-cutters when I was in government, you killed only 1,234 “small-boy” grass-cutters.

You built only fifty KVIPs and I have built 100.

I filled one million potholes. You only filled half that. 

Embarrassingly, these claims and counter claims go on unabated.

Malaysian Mate

At Graduate School thirty-five years ago, a mate of mine did a presentation on his country Malaysia as we were all required to do on our countries. Significantly, Ghana and Malaysia both got independence from Britain in 1957, Ghana in March and Malaysia in August. Described as twins, both had a GDP-per-capita of about six-hundred dollars. Today, Ghana’s GDP-per-capita is 2,200 US dollars while Malaysia’s is 11,400 dollars.

An analysis of the two countries shows that while Malaysia has been politically stable, Ghana has had a chequered history with long periods of instability. Obviously, without political stability, there can be no meaningful economic development! 

The on-going tit-for-tat- politics of vile insults and dangerous rhetoric does not only reduce our image internationally, but also creates an atmosphere of fear which does not promote economic development. 

Using the 4 x 110 yards relay analogy, Usain Bolt who has always anchored Jamaica to win gold has never claimed that, because he runs fastest, his gold medal is more gold than that of other members of the team. Neither did the fastest runner of Ghana’s gold-winning team in Jamaica in 1966. 
Politicians, remember TEAMWORK!



One of the most galvanizing catalysts of national unity the world-over is sports, as the 2023 African Games has reminded Ghanaians. Indeed, so emotive is sports that, in 1968 Honduras and El Salvador went to war over football.


The interest/support of Ghanaians in athletics/boxing/hockey has also shown that, putting all our sports eggs in one “football-basket” is unwise. Diversification of our sports investment into other areas is therefore imperative as was the case in the 1960s.

South Africa’s withdrawal from the hockey event with a spurious excuse was a blot on African unity, especially in light of Ghana’s contribution to their independence in 1994. Happily, the Head of the African-Hockey-Federation did not mince words in reprimanding the South Africans.

As we congratulate Team Ghana, leaders must learn to generate national unity through diversified sports/good preparation, and not divide us through partisan politics
Leadership, lead by example! Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP!

Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd)

Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association


Nairobi, Kenya


Family Health University College


[email protected]

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