Cocoa from Ghana has presented $25,000 to the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) to enable them participate in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
This was a response to the GOC’s plead for corporate support for Ghana’s participation in the Winter Games and the amount was agreed on after a successful meeting between the two parties at the GOC office in Accra last week.
Cocoa from Ghana’s representative, Mr Henri Wientjes, thanked the GOC for letting them be a part of the success story of Ghana’s skeleton athlete, Akwasi Frimpong.
He said they would be ready to offer any support to the GOC for the development of sports in the country.
GOC President, Mr Ben Nunoo Mensah also thanked Cocoa from Ghana for responding to their call even though it was done a bit late. He assured them that the fund would be used for its intended purpose and also agreed to partner them for the growth of sports in Ghana.
He explained that the money would be used for Akwasi’s airfare and that of his coach and physiotherapist as well as that of the chef de mission for the games, Hon. Jerry Shaib Ahmed, President of Special Olympics.
He added that the Ministry of Youth and Sports has been notified about Ghana’s participation and are also in talks with other corporate bodies to come on board.
Frimpong qualified for the games after fulfilling the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules, which required a minimum of five races on three different ice tracks in two years.
During his first season, he competed in 12 races on four different ice tracks – Calgary, Utah, Lake Placid and Germany.
In addition, Frimpong needed to be ranked in the top 60 on the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) world ranking by January 14, 2018.
Frimpong was ranked 95th in world during the 2016/2017 season, though it was only his first year as a skeleton athlete but managed to climb to the 60th position to earn the qualification.
He will be only the second athlete in Ghana’s history to compete under the flag of Ghana in the Winter Olympics after Kwame Nkrumah competed in the slalom ski event in 2010 in Vancouver.
He will also be the first athlete from West Africa to ever compete in the skeleton event, and the first black male skeleton athlete from the entire continent of Africa.
The sport for years has been dominated by white athletes, so he is already breaking down boundaries across the world. He competed for Ghana in February, during the IBSF World Championships in Koenigssee, Germany.
He was the first West African to compete at the World Championships in the skeleton event, and the only Ghanaian athlete nominated for the 2018 Winter Olympics.