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Over to You, Joe Lartey: SWAG’s first President receives global award

BY: Maurice Quansah
SWAG President Kwabena Yeboah (right) assists Joe Lartey to receive to receive his award from AIPS President, Gianni Merlo

The International Sports Press Association (AIPS) has honoured celebrated Ghanaian sportscaster and the first president of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), Joachim Awuley Lartey, at the 2022 AIPS Media Awards in Doha, Qatar.

Famously known as “Over to “You, Joe Lartey” during his illustrious years as a journalist, Mr Lartey was in the Qatari capital in the company of SWAG President, Kwabena Yeboah, and the General Secretary, Charles Osei-Asibey, to receive his award.

The retired broadcaster, who turned 95 years on June 6, was overcome by emotion while being decorated by AIPS President, Gianni Merlo, with a Lifetime Acheivement Award at a colourful ceremony at the Khalifa International Stadium, one of the host venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In response to the honour done him, Mr Lartey recounted his longstanding relationship with AIPS dating back to 1971, when he led SWAG and expressed his appreciation to the international body for the honour at his old age.

He commended SWAG for working hard to ensure the growth and development of sports journalism over the years.

The first man to lead SWAG, Mr Lartey journey into journalism started in 1961 when he joined the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) on the recommendation of Boso Kpohonu, an old schoolmate at Accra Academy.

At GBC, he moved from the Talks and Features Department to the Sports Department. He would later write scripts on sports fused with politics.

Mr Lartey flourished as a football commentator and developed a partnership and friendship with Festus Addae who made the phrase “Over to You, Joe Lartey” become popular.

With a career spanning many decades, Mr Lartey was the chief commentator when Ghana first hosted the Africa Cup of Nations in 1963 and run commentaries at subsequent AFCON tournaments and other competitions across the world. For many years he was the most recognisable voice on Ghana football’s First Division (later Premier League) until he retired.

He later worked with Radio Nigeria until 1990.

With his iconic voice and descriptive tone of events, the Ghanaian sports journalism fraternity was redefined through his high level of professionalism.