Other Sports of Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Source: The Finder

Customs seize boats meant for Ghana Rowing

Ghana’s attempt to develop the sport of rowing has suffered a severe setback following the seizure of boats meant to teach the sport in the country.

According to Finder Sports sources, the four boats have been seized by custom officials at the Aflao border and has been siting there from May last year.

Finder Sports has also learnt that custom officials refused to release the seized boats despite a directive from the former Minister of Finance, Kwabena Duffuor, to have the boats cleared.

The boats are said to be a gift from the International Rowing Federation to help develop the game/sport in Ghana.

Ghana’s rowing captain John Boafo, who worked hard for the boats to be donated to Ghana, feels frustrated at the turn of events.

“It is a bit unfortunate the way things have gone. These are supposed to be gifts to help us develop the sports in Ghana and I don’t understand why we should pay duties or taxes on it. We are told to pay about 10,000cedis before we can clear the boats. This is unfortunate,” he added.

John Boafo is the only Ghanaian who has competed at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Sydney, Australia, and he has done this using his own financial resources.

Determined to put Ghana on the map for the sports, John has come home to teach and to represent the nation in the sport.

Boafo is aware of the impact that these boats could have on rowing in his homeland and is anxious that the issues holding the boats be resolved quickly.

He is therefore appealing to all well-meaning Ghanaians and sports enthusiast to help get the customs to release the boats.

A son of a diplomat, Boafo spent his formative years living in France, where he had his first experience of rowing.

“One of my friends takes credit for getting me into rowing,” he laughs. “I didn’t do any sports and on Wednesdays in France you don’t have school classes in the afternoon so he told me to come along rowing with him. I started and have continued ever since.Then I went to the US and rowed there at the University of Georgia,” he said.

He says during his time as part of the “US University rowing system I raced in 30 different states and I believe that learning the art of rowing in different countries has made a positive impact on my development in the sport.”