As we build up to the release of the list of greatest Ghanaian athletes of all time next week, Liquid Sports Ghana looks back to an interview granted by 1976 Olympic 100m and 200m champion Donald Quarrie on his expectations of Ghana’s athletics team at the 2012 Olympic Ames in London.
Donald was a top athlete in his days during the 70s. He won a gold medal in the 200m and a silver in the 100m at the 1976 Olympics. In all, he competed in five Olympic Games and won four Olympic medals during his career.
By Erasmus Kwaw, August 2012
The leader of the Jamaican Olympic team at the 2012 Olympic Games, Donald Quarrie has insisted that Ghana should be a force in world athletics if the country places more importance on schools sports.
Ghana was represented by only three athletes in track and field at the recent Olympic Games in London, to the surprise of many in the sports world.
The country could boast several quality athletes in the past including the sprinters such as Alice Anum, George Daniels, Ohene Karikari, John Myles-Mills, Leo Myles-Mills, Eric Nkansah, and jumpers such as Mike Ahey, Joshua Owusu, Francis Dodoo, Andrew Owusu and the likes.
In an exclusive interview with www.liquidsportsghana.com, the team leader of Jamaica at the Olympic Games, Donald Quarrie expressed surprise at the current situation Ghana finds itself in and added that the country deserves more.
“They (Ghana) should be a force. But you need to have good coaching, good development programme, good competition within your schools and above,” he said.
Quarrie suggested that the situation could change if sports authorities pay more attention to schools sports saying, develop your school system. The school system brings out the best because they (the athletes) are young, they have more fun, they learn a lot early which can carry them forward.
“I remember George Daniels (a Ghanaian), a good friend of mine and he was an outstanding athlete and I keep saying, where are the other Ghanaian athletes? Coincidentally, George Daniels was a product of a by gone era when Ghana heavily invested in school sports.”
Jamaica swept to a new world record in the men’s 4x100m relay event at the Olympic Games, drawing inspiration from sprint sensation Usain Bolt and his training partner Yohan Blake.
The Jamaican team official also added that his country’s dominance of the sprints could be traced to its well developed school system.
I think the main ingredient behind our sprinting is our youth development: the primary school and high school. We have a lot of competition.We have a lot of coaches who are certified IF coaches, coaching at this level.
Meanwhile, some officials of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) are optimistic about the future of the sport. The National Junior Team won the West African Junior Athletics Championship in Abidjan, in April 2012.
Seven junior athletes also qualified (met IAAF standards) to represented Ghana at the IAAF World Junior Championship in Barcelona, Spain last month. GAA member, Prof. Andrew Owusu, says this is feat is unprecedented. Just 2 years ago, only one athlete qualified to represent Ghana at World Juniors.
According to Prof. Owusu, this indicates that GAA’s developmental plan, although not fully implemented, is already bearing fruit. He added that the next major challenge is to successfully transition the youngsters to the next level.