Several speakers have touted the boxing credentials of former President Jerry John Rawlings, the first President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana at a roundtable discussion.
Former Sports Minister, Enoch Teye Mensah, three-time world boxing champion and boxing hall of famer, Azumah Nelson, renowned promoter Samir Captan, boxer Joseph Agbeko and others, took turns to eulogise the late former President and describe in detail the significant impact he made on boxing.
The event was a roundtable discussion on boxing, organized by the J.J. Rawlings Foundation to mark the 75th birthday of the former President, on Wednesday, June 22.
Under the theme ‘J.J. Rawlings’ Contribution to the Sport and the Way Forward’ speaker after speaker extolled the virtues of the former President and the personal dedication he gave to sports with boxing being a great beneficiary.
Samir Captan told the audience that though he did not relate directly with President Rawlings at the time, the presidency showed keen interest in his activities as an astute promoter who helped to lift the name of Ghana high.
He stated that the President motivated the boxing fraternity with his personal interest and attention which created an environment for the discipline to thrive.
Council of State member and former Sports Minister under President Rawlings, E. T. Mensah indicated that the former President ensured that he (the Minister) toured the boxing gyms and ensured that the boxers were receiving adequate training. The government also developed new gyms for the upcoming boxers to train in.
Azumah Nelson elicited prolonged applause when he disclosed how he used to call President before bouts to inform him he was heading into the ring. The President was almost always already seated by his television ready to watch Azumah defeat his opponent.
In an address, the Executive Director of the J.J. Rawlings Foundation, Ms. Asantewaa Agyeman-Rawlings said the rationale behind the event was to recall the former President’s contributions to boxing and how it lifted up the image of the sport.
The roundtable discussion was also to raise awareness of the significance boxing as a sport had made to the development of the mind and body of young men and women.
“We hope to utilise this gathering today to highlight some of the problems boxing and boxers are facing as well, and what practical solutions we can outline and how we can implement these solutions,” Ms. Agyeman-Rawlings stated.
Ms. Agyeman-Rawlings, who is the second daughter of the former President, said that President Rawlings was not selective in his support for boxing. She said he also created an environment for the development of most sports disciplines.
Under his leadership, Ghana launched the Sports For All Campaign where every Ghanaian was encouraged to participate in one sport or another.
His administration also developed the Dansoman Park with the support of Accra Brewery Limited; Kaneshie Sports Complex was also developed with a tennis court, a swimming pool and a football pitch.
Other notable names at the roundtable event included former Youth and Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuije, Mr. Oko Vanderpuije, Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South; former Ghana Football Association Chairman, Nana Sam Brew Butler; Sports and Business Consultant, Rex Danquah; Mr. Isaac Tetteh, Managing Director of TT Brothers; President of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Ben Nunoo Mensah; Eddie Duplan, former Chairman of the Ghana Amateur Boxing Association and Mr. Maurice Quansah, Editor of Graphic Sports.
Also present were Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, Member of Parliament for Klottey Korle, Ms. Amina Agyeman-Rawlings and Mr. Kimathi Agyeman-Rawlings.