Track & Field News of Saturday, 2 March 2013

Source: Erasmus Kwaw

Ghanaian athletes qualify for NJCAA

Two Ghanaian athletes have qualified for the USA National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Indoor Championship just a month into their scholarships at the Neosho County College.

Sprinter Doreen Agyei and Atsu Nyamadi qualified to represent their school, Neosho County College, in the 60m event and heptathlon respectively.

The duo’s qualification is quite significant because they hardly trained in the last two months before their departure to the USA because of the rigors of the Visa acquisition process.

Despite that, the Ghanaian athletes were thrown into competition less than a week upon arrival at their base.

Multi talented athlete Atsu Nyamadi is currently ranked 8th in the NJCAA going into the National Championship.

Doreen and Atsu are part of ‘the Neosho Panthers’ contingent to the National Championships, which is made of 12 athletes in 16 different events for the championship in Lubbock, Texas between 1st and 2nd March.

It is worth noting that a third athlete, John Ampomah's event--the javelin throw --is not competed indoors, so he will start throwing in about three weeks when the Indoors end and competition moves outdoors.

It will be recalled that the three young national athletes left for the States in January after securing scholarships to further their education and enhance their career development, while also honing their athletics skills at Neosho County College in Kansas.

The initiative was made possible through the effective collaboration between the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ghana Olympic Committee and the Ghana Athletics Association.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports' involvement was at the highest level, with the previous Sports Minister Hon. Kofi Humado and his former Deputy (and now Minister for Communication) Dr. Omane Boamah both intimately involved in facilitating the success of this endeavor.

Dr. Omane Boamah was instrumental in providing the requisite funds that made their departure possible.

The then-Minister, Hon. Kofi Humado initiated the process when he wrote to the Ghana Olympic Committee in September 2012, shortly after the Olympic Games, asking the latter to identify five athletes for sponsorship towards long-term preparation for Rio 2016.

The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) worked with the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) to source scholarships to four prospective athletes to kick start Ghana’s preparations towards the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.