It was a huge success for Team Ghana on their debut in the Combat Ju Jitsu world championship in Kiev, Ukraine after all three representatives won medals in their respective weight categories.
Isaac Dowuona AKA Zongo Fire won silver in the lightweight division whereas Team Ghana captain, Abdul Malik Adjei, grabbed third place in the bantamweight category and Ishmael Lantei Lamptey also secured bronze in the welterweight division at the Combat Jiu Jutsu International Federation (CJJIF) organised event that saw 32 countries compete.
The fourth qualified Ghanaian, Solomon Donne Ametepey, a middleweight unfortunately got injured in training and failed to make the trip.
Ghana, one of only three African countries, along with Uganda and Egypt to take part, wowed the tournament with their impressive displays even though they only arrived in Ukraine on Friday, a day after the competition had started. They had to go straight to the Urban Sports City Arsenal Sports Complex for weigh-in ahead of their respective fights on Saturday.
But that did not distract their focus on the task at hand, which was to do well and win medals. They delivered three medals in the process to further enhance the name of Ghana in the sporting world following the heroics of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games hero, Samuel Takyi.
“The feeling is very great and the other federations of other countries like France, Turkey, UAE, Kazakhstan, Cyprus and Germany are so impressed with our team’s performance. The want to invite us to participate in their various upcoming events.” said Evans Bernie-Johnson, Executive Director, Professional Combat Sports Association of Ghana (PROCSAG).
“The future of Combat Jiu Jitsu in Ghana is very bright as one of the other European countries’ Combat Jiu Jitsu President wanted to partner us to organise Africa and world championship as well in Ghana,” Mr. Bernie-Johnson revealed.
“Another beautiful thing is the road cross sign which our brother Samuel Takyi did at the Olympics. As soon as we appear at the arena the people there show the sign to welcome us and those supporting us chanted ‘Ghana, Ghana, Ghana’. It was so lovely,” the PROCSAG chief added.
The 3-day competition featured 32 countries and witnessed competition in adults 18+, juniors 16-17 years and cadets 12-15 years divisions.
Ghana, however, was only represented in the adults category mainly because of financial challenges from the lack of support from government and corporate Ghana.
With the impressive performance exhibited in Ukraine by the three fighters, it is the hope of PROCSAG that Ghanaians realise the huge potential of Combat Sports and will offer the much needed support.
“We have learnt more tactics, techniques and exposure. We need government support to be able to organise and develop the sport and be in all the regions in Ghana to represent Mother Ghana in upcoming international competition,” said Mr. Bernie Johnson.
“We have fighters in all categories both male and female, but the cost of airfare, hotel, food and participation is very expensive. So if we get support from government, individuals and corporate bodies, there is no doubt we will go very far because we can go with more athletes in all categories and win more medals for Ghana,” he continued.
“We would like to thank all Ghanaians for their support, encouragement and advice especially the current Sports Minister Hon. Mustapha Ussif, former Mayor of Accra Hon. Oko Vanderpuije, Hon. Isaac Kwadwo Osei, Madam Shaik Latif, Lucy Latif and Nuumo Kobblah III of Korle We.”