The maiden Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) U-20 Athletics Championships is almost upon us now with the arrival of teams for the championships which runs from Friday, 22nd June to Saturday, 23rd June at the Cape Coast stadium.
As of Thursday, 21 June, majority of the teams had arrived at the Games venue in Cape Coast. They include officials and athletes from host Ghana, Liberia, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Gambia, Nigeria and Senegal.
This is the second time Ghana is hosting a major ECOWAS competition, having last hosted the 2012 ECOWAS Games in Accra.
The GAA is organising the event in partnership with Just Because Fitness, a Ghanaian sports promotion group-having signed an agreement for the latter to assist the GAA to stage a number of domestic and international championships in 2018 and support four promising national athletes through a program dubbed “Sporting Chance.”
The Ghana Athletics Association led by its President Prof. Francis Dodoo, General Secretary Bawah Fuseini and the Local Organising Committee have been working on the finer details for the championships in the last few months.
Meanwhile, a strong delegation from the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) led by its Secretary General Lamine Fathy is also in town for the event.
On Tuesday, the Technical Delegate of the CAA Mr. Okry Nonvignon inspected facilities at the Cape Coast stadium and later briefed the Press in Cape Coast about preparations for the championships. He expressed his happiness about the level of preparations for the championships, adding that all 15 West African nations had confirmed their participation in the 2-day event.
It will be recalled that Team Ghana rounded stepped up its preparations for the championships by holding an Open Championships at the Baba Yara stadium in Kumasi on 9th June.
Ghana’s 43 member includes athletes who last competed in the various regional super zonal events in the senior high schools this year, and some tertiary institutions.
Athletes selected include 2018 Commonwealth Games 100m finalist Hor Halutie, long distance specialists William Amponsah and Sakat Lariba, 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games 400m finalist Rafiatu Nuhu, Takoradi based sprinter Raymond French, Mfantsipim School’s middle distance specialist Aziz Mohammed, among others.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian contingent comprises of 10 male and 11 female athletes, all of whom competed at last week’s National U-20 Trials in Ozoro, Delta State, where most of them won their respective events.
The male athletes invited include Akintola Alaba (100m, 4x100m), Omubo Gershon (100m, 4x100m), Emmanuel Ojeli (200m, 400m), Shedrack Akpeki (200m, 400m), Hamid Sambo (800m, 1500m) and Muhammed Yussuf (110m Hurdles).