Young talents shine at Junior Olympics athletics
The Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi witnessed a display of exceptional talent as young boys and girls showcased their skills during the two-day second Junior Olympics athletics event which climaxed last Saturday.
Athletes aged seven to 16 from various regions across the country, including Accra and Kumasi, competed in races such as the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, and long jump, vying for recognition and the attention of athletics coaches, including US-based trainer, Elorm Amenakpor from the Legon Creative Athletics Club.
Initiated by Amenakpor and Ghanaian athletics star Benjamin Azamati, the Junior Olympics serves as a grassroots development programme and talent-hunt event, providing outstanding athletes with opportunities for further development abroad. The event aimed to identify promising young talents who could continue their athletic journey at national and international levels.
Expressing his satisfaction with the participants, Amenakpor praised the performance of the young athletes.
"What I am actually looking for, I am seeing it, and I am very impressed. My concentration is more on the children and seeing young children taking part in the jump competition, it is something that has never happened before.
"This is an under 10-year-old boy and a girl going home with a medal around their neck, some proudly carrying the Ghana flag while others bear the US flag. That is the Olympic spirit felt right here in Ghana," he told the Graphic Sports.
Beyond the impressive turnout and competitiveness of the event, the coach said he was highly impressed with the performance of the young athletes.
Amenakpor emphasised the importance of gradual progression in the programme, with participants expected to compete in higher age groups in future editions of the competition.
“The ultimate goal is to prepare the young talents for national and international competitions, building champions for the future.
“For me, this is about preparing tomorrow’s champion today,” he said.
While performance evaluations were yet to be conducted, the coach highlighted the remarkable achievements in the long jump events for the under-7 to 10-year-old category. Notably, a young boy recorded an impressive jump of 4.04 metres, while a girl achieved a jump of over 3.0 metres.
"These performances are impressive so I believe next year, they will train to come and break the records that we are setting today,” he said.
Even though a portal was opened for online registration, the organisers were still compelled to do manual registration at the venue in order not to deny some athletes who had travelled all the way from the Northern and Bono regions from competing.
Coach Amenakpor remains committed to expanding the competition in the future. While the event was primarily funded by the coach, with support from a few individuals and members of the Past Athletes Association of Ghana, they hope to attract corporate sponsorship to further enhance the event's reach and impact.