Ghana targets athletics medal haul at African Games
The Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) is gearing up to showcase the nation's top talents, assembling a formidable squad of approximately 40 athletes, both home-based and internationally-based, for a robust campaign at the 13th Africa Games slated for March 2024 in Accra.
With a strong determination to secure a significant medal tally at the upcoming African Games, the GAA has decided to terminate the off-season break, pushing athletes into early preparations for the continental event, which also doubles as a crucial qualification opportunity for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
In an exclusive interview with Graphic Sports, GAA President, Bawa Fuseini, outlined the comprehensive strategy for preparation ahead of the games to ensure Ghana dominates track and field events in the continental competition. He said home-based athletes were set to commence their training camp at the Cape Coast Stadium in January, while their international counterparts would engage in preparatory competitions in their respective American colleges. The two groups will later unite in February for the final stages of readiness.
He said the preparations would begin with their participation in a two-day competition, which would be held as part of activities to mark the inauguration of the Koforidua Sports Stadium in the Eastern Region from Tuesday, December 19, 2023.
“The inauguration will be used to have competition for a number of sporting events in which athletics will be featured at the African Games, and we will compete in all events,” he said.
The roadmap includes a series of competitions in Cape Coast, including circuit, schools’ competitions and the West Africa Championships, which will serve as qualification for the African Games to enable the athletics body to select the best athletes capable of winning medals for Ghana.
Acknowledging the importance of collaboration, Mr Bawa disclosed ongoing discussions with Ghanaian athletes and their coaches based in the United States, aiming to secure their early release for African Games preparation. Additionally, discussions are underway with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to facilitate the relocation of non-student Ghanaian athletes in the USA to South Africa for summer training, optimising their readiness for the games.
“They have a lot of competitions in their schools, which will be in session around January so they can use that as preparations but for those who are not students, we are working with the ministry to enable them to go to South Africa to train due to the winter season in the US,” he said.
Addressing qualification for the Olympic Games, he said that aside from the 13th Africa Games, the African Championships in Cameroun, the Penn Relays in the US, as well as the World Relays Championships in the Bahamas, would also be used as qualification events for the Paris Olympics.
“I know that athletics will do well. We cannot fail Ghanaians so we are working so hard to live up to expectations. All we need is the necessary resources for the preparations,” he added.