Mr. Evans Opoku Bobie, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports on Tuesday, launched the Koora Sports Consult and its Flagship programme – Project Athletics, an initiative designed to unearth and groom talents.
The initiative is geared towards grooming athletes for the 13th Africa Games in 2023 in Ghana.
Speaking at the launch, the Deputy Minister recalled how Ghana used to dominate the world in athletics six decades ago, saying that, currently, Ghana struggles to qualify for international competitions.
He mentioned that Ghana should drift from the Olympics’ philosophy which is to participate and focus on winning medals for the country to hoist the flag of Ghana.
Mr. Opoku Bobie said the government was committed to reviving schools and colleges sports to identify talents and develop the youth for Ghana’s benefit.
He pledged his support for the initiative and called on corporate bodies to come on board to support the noble course.
Mr. Emmanuel Tuffour, a former Ghanaian sprinter and the brain behind the initiative said the aim of Koora Sports Consult is to create opportunities for the youth in Ghana including persons with disabilities, to realize their dreams through sports, particularly, athletics.
He said the “Project Athletics” would produce world-class athletes which start with identifying athletic talents and grooming them through Elite Athlete Development Pathway until they become world-class materials.
He added that, ultimately, the goal of “Project Athletics” was to establish KOORA Athletic Academy in Ghana that would select, camp, and train talented athletes including foreign athletes who want to benefit from the natural environment for training sprinters and jumpers.
He said “Ghanaians are endowed with a natural ability to shine in Sprinting and Jumping events. As you may have noticed, Kenyans are endowed with natural ability in long and middle-distance athletic events.
“Their achievement is not by accident but by design. In order to add value to their natural talent, numerous High Altitude Training Camps have been established in Kenya.
“In one and half year short term, Koora Sports Consult will embark on a massive Talent Identification Programme throughout the country. We would follow Schools and Colleges athletic programmes, GUSA and SESSA Programmes as well as Ghana Athletic Association Programmes. Needy but Talented athletes would be offered scholarships under the KOORA Talent Identification Programme.
“These athletes would be camped periodically and offered opportunities to compete in annual KOORA organized competitions or national competitions.
The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) President, Mr. Ben Nunoo Mensah thanked Mr. Tuffour for the initiative and promised him of the GOC’s massive support to take the initiative a success
The National Sports Authority (NSA) Director-General, Prof. Peter Twumasi also assured his readiness to support the course.
“We have the sporting facilities now and it will be put to good use. An office would be given for the project and that the NSA would support when called on.” He said.
The event drew attendance from Mr. Kwabena Yeboah, the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), Mr. Sandy Osei-Agyemang, former Ghana Athletics Association, Mr. Kwabena Agyapong, The Local Organising Committee Chairman for the Africa Games among other dignitaries.