President Nana Akufo-Addo in a historic pose with National athletics legends "Baby Jet", Alice Anum (left) and Hannah Afriyie at the just ended African Games at Legon.

By Ken Bediako

The sages say you can’t find any perfect organisation in the world so I will rate the organisation of the just ended African Games in Accra as near perfect. There is no doubt that despite a few initial hiccups like low publicity, the Games were well organised and truly patronised as well.

The nation has benefitted a lot from first class world standard sports facilities and all we need is to maintain them well and use them profitably.

The indoor Games facilities at Borteyman should not turn out to be a white elephant. It is common knowledge that our maintenance culture is extremely poor. The new facilities provided  for the 2008 Afcon, notably Essipong and Tamale stadia, are clear examples of poor maintenance culture that must change.

I was a Board member of the then National Sports Council (NSC) when the two new Stadia were built. A proposal from a company to manage the two Stadia was torpedoed by the NSC top brass who insisted they had the capacity to maintain the Stadia. And that ended the matter.

Veteran Sports Journalist Ken Bediako-The Writer

The government says the Borteyman Sports Complex would be converted into a Sports University. Brilliant idea but in the mean time we should keep a keen eye on the facilities over there. They must be put to regular use.

All the hitherto progressive sports festivals like Founders Day Games, Intercollegiate Games, and National Security or CESSA Games which have died prematurely must be resurrected doubly quick.

In the past the nation was able to organise all these games, including the national football league FA Cup, SWAG Cup, Ghalca Top 4 and Guinness Gala all in a calendar year. Your guess is as good as mine how come all these competitions have vanished into thin air.

I hope the Citi TV sponsored special invitational schools athletics originally planned to precede the African Games can now take place.

The huge patronage for athletics in the just ended African Games clearly showed that Ghanaians love sports in general and not football alone.

A lot of the younger generation are understandably surprised at the mammoth patronage and the high performance of our athletes winning gold here and there.

The fact is Ghana has a proud history of athletics talents dating from half a century ago.

Legendary athletes like Mike Ahey, E.C. O. Addy, Sandy Osei Agyeman, Ohene Karikari, Alice Anum and Hannah Afriyie special guests at the Legon Stadium, were among the pack that put Ghana firmly on the international sports map years ago.

Narrowing it to the African Games it was Alice, Ohene Karikari and Co that set a chain of seven Games records in Lagos 1973 on their way to collect massive gold medals.

For the records Rose Hart won shot putt gold, Alice Anum won 100m, 200m and the sprints quartet gold record alongside Josephine Ocran, Elizabeth Bruce, and Rose Asiedua.

Joshua Owusu set a long jump record and Ohene Karikari’s double gold in 100m and 200m in record time brought Ghana’s tally to seven Games records.

Please note that Ghana competed in only seven sports disciplines at the Games. These were athletics, swimming, table tennis, boxing, tennis and baseball.

In Algiers 1978 Games, Hannah Afriyie emulated the example of Alice Anum, her senior at Accra Girls Secondary School and won both the 100m and 200m breaking Alice’s record time in the 200m.

Hannah was also among the 4x400m relay golden quartet that set a Games record. The others were Helena Opoku, Grace Bakari and Georgina Aidoo.

Once again Ohene Karikari was on hand in 1978 to team up with George Enchill, Ernest Obeng and Albert Lomotey to win the sprints relay in record time.

All this is to show appreciation to the organisers of Accra 23 for showing to the younger generation that Ghana was once a strong force in athletics and so Azamati, Amoah, Yeboah and Co must be encouraged to keep the flag flying at full mast.

The four gold by our boxers reminds some of us of the exploits of Azumah Nelson and Adama Mensah’s gold in Algiers 1978 and Steve Dotse’s gold in Cairo 1991.

It is significant to note that a novelty discipline like arm wrestling could fetch Ghana so much honour.

Some people may argue that the gold for arm wrestling may not be as valuable like the one for the marathon or sprints relay. This is false.

I checked from experts in gold affairs and the verdict is that the spot gold price is theoretically the same everywhere in the world because an ounce of gold is the same whether it is in the US or Japan.

In that case Mr Osei Asibey and his arm wrestlers should be proud of their gold medals haul that gave Ghana a big boost at the Games. They are solid gold.

Who knows? Sooner than later the sport will spread like wild fire in the country and Ghana will haul in tons of medals at the next Games.

Cheers everybody and keep loving sports.