Contribution of UG Athletes to National Teams: A Look at Birmingham 2022
Desmond Aryee, Represented Ghana at 2015 African Games, Congo Brazzaville
Over the years, the University of Ghana Sports Directorate has contributed immensely to the national teams of Ghana. The ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England has even proven the fact more. The University of Ghana’s desire to train holistic students who will meet the needs of industry is not a rhetoric but a dream being fulfilled.
Abubakar Alhassan (Lalas)
Talk about the blend between academia and sports, one can easily point out the likes of Benjamin Azamati, Abraham Seaneke, Desmond Aryee, Grace Obour, Japheth Bagerbesah, Elizabeth Opoku and Alhassan Abubakar (Lalas) who came through the University of Ghana sports development agenda.
Strategies and Policies
The Sports Directorate for close to a decade has instituted the University of Ghana Policy on the Admission of Athlete Students (UG-PAAS) and the University of Ghana Sport Fund (UG-SF), which seeks to admit the best sports talents from the senior high level to pursue their academic studies while they are being nurtured and developed to reach their full sporting potential.
These strategies have enabled athletes to have sound financial support to focus on their studies, train better during school sessions and vacations and train at high-performing centers.
National Team Call-ups
Through the combination of academics and sports, students from the University of Ghana have earned call-ups for national assignments in various sporting disciplines. With student-athletes who have gone the extra also earning full scholarships to further their studies and sports careers abroad, especially in the United States of America.
In recent times, most of these athletes have represented Ghana at major international events such as the African Games in 2015 and 2019 in Congo Brazzaville and Rabat, Morocco respectively, the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, the World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar in 2019 and Oregon, USA in 2022 and the Olympic Games in 2022.
Elorm Amenakpor, Sprint Coach, UG
As much as the athletes have received call-ups, the coaches have also received invitations to guide the teams at these prestigious sports festivals. Notable among them was Daniel Opare Okyere, who coached the Ghana Swim Team at the 2018 Africa Swimming Championships in Tunisia and the 2022 Olympic Games in Japan. Elorm Amenakpor recently coached the Ghana athletes at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, Eugene, USA.
With the Commonwealth Games ongoing, we look at some students and alumnus who have been nurtured by UG Sports Directorate and are representing Ghana at the Games.
Benjamin Kwaku Azamati (Alumnus)
While studying at UG, Azamati ran his fastest time of 10.31 seconds at the Ghana Fastest and won gold for Ghana in the 4x100m at the African Games in Morocco after 16 years of waiting. He was also part of Ghana's 4x100m men's relay team, finishing 5th in the just ended World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA. In 2022, he signed a professional contract with ASICS and is a force to reckon with in the 100m event.
Abdul Rasheed Saminu (Level 200)
Saminu a beneficiary of both UG-PAAS and UG-SF made his personal best of 10.31 seconds in 100m at his first international competition at the 10th Federation of African University Sports (FASU) Games in Nairobi, Kenya in June 2022. He was part of UG’s 4x100m Team that represented Ghana at the Invitational Relay Championship in Benin City, Nigeria, and won silver in June, 2022.
Millicent Ankude (Level 400)
She is ranked 6th in Ghana, 14th in West Africa and 497th in the world in Table Tennis. She represented University of Ghana at the 2018 West African Universities Games (WAUG) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria winning two bronze medals.
Emmanuel Ofori (Level 200)
Emmanuel Ofori is ranked among the top 16 in Africa. Though he is yet to represent UG at any Table Tennis competition, he has worn the Ghana colours on a number of occasions, and he will once again represent Ghana at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in England.
These athletes will continue to represent Ghana well and inspire other young sportsmen and women that it is possible to combine sports and academics and achieve excellence in both.