The Director of Sports at the Sports Directorate University of Education Winneba (UEW) Dr. Emmanuel Osei Sarpong has declared that UEW is back after the university achieved the best performance by a Ghanaian University at the 10th Federation of Africa University Sports (FASU) games held at the Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
UEW achieved a historic third place in the competition after grabbing 23 medals made up of 8 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 5 bronze medals, behind eventual winners American University of Cairo who won 69 medals and Ndejje University of Uganda who won 53 medals overall.
According to Dr. Sarpong, historically UEW’s performance is also better than the 6 gold medals the University for Development Studies achieved when they placed third in a previous FASU event.
Dr. Sarpong said the significance of UEW’s third placement at the event cannot be overemphasised.
“The number of athletes who we went to the games, the number of sports we took part in, and the number of medals we won is significant,” he told www.liquidsportsghana.com.
“We will continue to train and take advice from our foreign partners so we can continue with our performances and be at the top. People have been laughing at us and saying we train the P.E. masters and we always are not able to win the GUSA games, but we want to tell them we have come back!
UEW was the highest-ranked Ghanaian university at this year’s FASU which was billed as the ultimate multisport continental event for all degree-awarding institutions in Africa.
The performance was made all the more impressive given the fact the prestigious Winneba-based institution presented only 19 athletes at the games but won medals in all the sports disciplines they took part in namely track and field, tennis and badminton. Further, UEW ranked 1st in tennis, 2nd in badminton, and 4th in athletics.
Asked about the international exposure the athletes gained in Kenya, Dr. Sarpong was confident the athletes have learnt a lot.
“What I am happy about is the fact that many of our athletes did not understand the things we told them back home. But when they saw their colleagues, how they train and their professionalism, most of our athletes came to tell me this competition is an eye-opener for them.”
“And from now on we are also going to behave like professionals. So you realise that traveling is good. It has given them some exposure and I believe it will help them develop further.”
Tennis star Johnson Acquah led the honours, producing four medals in the men’s singles, doubles, mixed doubles, and men’s team.
Sprint sensation Gifty Oku captured the imagination of the followers of track and field when she stopped the clock at a lifetime best of 11.75(PB) to beat an elite field to the gold medal in the 100m final.
The impressive middle-distance specialist Charles Baah won the men’s 1500m final with 4:01.60, and Faustina Owusu won the discus women’s final with a throw of 41.19m.
There was a further gold medal in badminton mixed doubles where the pair of Ebenezer Andrews and Jennifer Abbiti excelled.
The FASU competition has transformed country-focused participation into institutional participation. UEW’s strategy of focusing on disciplines where it has comparative advantage and selecting individuals who can medal has paid off.
“We selected individuals who were good in our inter halls and open championships. We selected individuals who we were sure of winning medals for us,” Dr. Sarpong said.
“It is something we did ahead of the GUSA games in November, especially because if you want to win an event, you need to win the racket games. I am sure this time we will win the GUSA Games.
“Currently, UDS and UG are having good athletes, but we believe looking at what we achieved there (Kenya), we will win GUSA come November.”
The Director of Sports at the Sports Directorate, University of Education Winneba Dr. Emmanuel Osei Sarpong credited the University Management for their invaluable contribution to the success of the team.
“We want to thank the University Management for allowing us to represent the University and this is only the beginning,” he said.
Meanwhile, the UEW team arrived back in the country last week to a heroes welcome to the University campus.