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Opinions of Friday, 24 July 2020

Columnist: Kordson Kwasi Ayrakwa

Inter College Sports: Biheco and beyond

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Education is about building the intellectual, physical, mental, moral, spiritual, cultural, social and entrepreneurial well being of the student. The impact of these qualities on a student makes him/her a whole person able to contribute meaningfully to his/her friends, community, nation and society in general.

In this short piece, my focus will be on the physical- sports; which in many ways derives its strength and potential from varied levels of the above mentioned qualities targeted towards reaching a defined goal.

In our days in Biheco, this was in full display. Despite the intense intellectual atomshpere that existed in every facet of life at school, sports played a very prominent role. Our Sports master Mr. Ameko was ever present at PE ( Physical Education) and Inter House Athletic competitions. Inter House Athletic competitions were fierce and strongly contested.

For some reason, either by design or just mere chance, House 1 ( St. Augustine) had a number of spectacular athletes and were in constant competition or battle with the boys of House 6 ( St. Victor). House 5 (St. Maurice ), House 4, ( Etu Mantey), House 3 (St. Benedict ) and House 2 ( St. Cyprian) also had good quality athletes which made the meets ever so challenging and competitive.

I remember the 100 meters dash was fought for by Senior Wonyenu Cyprian of ( St. Victor House 6) and Peter Agbesi ( House 1 St. Augustine). The 200 meters went to Attah of House 1, and the 400 meters went to Zato of House 2. The mid distances 800 and 1500 meters went to Naumesi Agbesi and 5000 and 10000 meters were taken by Gideon Kpedator of House 1. Pole Vault was Kamevor Jerome's domain (House 6 ) - who was always flying in the air. The discuss and Javelin throws were masterfully done and won by Senior Samuel Okpoti of House 1. St. Augustine House 1 also had a wonderful basketball team led the " Yevu" Christenson Samuel, Cherubine, Gabriel Adeyemi and Prosper Domi. For Soccer, we had our Sports Captain Gavivina Tamakloe, very affable and wonderful leader, Samuel Asiedu ( Iron) - who could strike the ball with power and accuracy, Charles Acolatse ( Spanachico) talented, fearless and great dribbler and then, Robert Worde alias Wadada, Gaba Stone - he was the " no nonsense guy " , you better be ready for him. That was it, a disciplined Sports Program in Behico.

At the Inter Schools meet, the competition was palpable. The rivalry was between Biheco and Kpantec. Sometimes, Kpando Secondary School possed some challenges here and there. Anfoesec and Vakposec did not cause any much damages.

Kpantec, particularly had some good athletes all round. Some of them were older and because the school runned various courses different from our normal Arts and Science courses in Biheco and other secondary schools, the pool of talent was enormous and deep.

Regardless of this situation however, I remember one particular event 4×400 meters relay. It was the last race for the day. Kpantec was leading in all the rounds, then, the last baton exchange was done and the athlete for Biheco was in 3rd place, then he gave the baton to Zato, this young man run the 400 meters in a way I had never seen before. He over took all the runners and won the race for Biheco. It was spectacular and wonderful and all Bishop Herman boys were shouting and cheering " Zato, Zato, Zato...." What a triumph it was.

I also had a brief stay in Labone Secondary School. Inter Schools competition in the Greater Accra Region was the fiercest I had witnessed in Ghana. A number of the national athletes came from this region. For example, Accra Academy's Miles Mills held the national title for the 100 meters and represented Ghana in many International events. He won a scholarship to the University of Alabama and joined their Athletic Program. Accra Academy also had great athletes like CeeKelay, Daniel Akakpo - Kpashee ( all Teshie Nungua brethren). In Labone Secondary, we had the likes of " Speedy " who was very good at the 100 and 200 meters and the Long Jump.

In the Central Region, the rivalry was intense amid the singing of "Jama Songs", drumming, taunting/mocking one another - all in the spirit of making the games/competition colourful and entertaining. I was informed by a reliable friend Mike Dordor that, St. Augustine College had a great athlete " Adongo" who was very good at the 100 meter dash, but seem to never graduate from the school - seems to be always around.

Wesley Girls High School also had the great Bridgette Dzogbenuku " fire " . She was beauty and brains but also physically gifted. She was unbeatable at 100 meters through out her school days at Wegehee.

Adisadel College also had a formidable Sports Program. Particularly, they had a very powerful basketball team which stayed undefeated for many years. They had great players like Terry Acquah, " Obobom", Emmanuel Torsu, Kwashie Anyidoho,- some of these guys all went to the University of Science and Technology ( UST), and created a great rivalry between Unity Hall and University Hall. These were the days of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajewon (Nigerian) who joined the Houston Rockets - was in Sports illustrator and Ebony Magazine- this created the dream that any African player who worked hard could also one day play in the NBA. This indeed opened the floodgates for many African players, Luol Deng, Joel Embie, Dennis Schroder, Jahlil Okafor, Josh Okogie, Mohamad Bamba, Victor Oladipo, Giannis Antetokoumpo ect, etc.

Sports in Ghana has become a pivotal tool for the development of young people across the country and indeed laurels chalked by the Ghanaian Senior National Team - the Black Stars in the World Cup, the 1991 Under 17 World Cup Champions, Former Super Feather Weight Champion of the World Azumah Nelson, Abedi Pele of Marseille and winner of the European Champions League are all examples of how far sports and hard work has taken many Ghanaians far beyond Ghana to the great world of achievement and progress.