2nd Africa Youth Games: 31-contingent Team Ghana arrive in Botswana

With less than 24 hours to the start of the 2nd Africa Youth Games (AYG), Ghana is poised to make her debut appearance in Africa’s biggest Youth Games after a strong contingent of athletes and officials arrived in Gaborone, Botswana on Tuesday, 20th May.

SWAG Weightlifter of the Year 2013, Juliana Arku, will be leading Ghana’s charge for laurels as well as badminton player Abraham Ayittey, sprinter Janet Mensah and 800m runner Martha Bissah.

Team Ghana, made up of 21 athletes and ten officials, will be gunning to make the country proud in six sporting disciplines including, athletics, weightlifting, badminton, swimming, table tennis and cycling.

The various disciplines will be represented by ten athletes, two weightlifters, five badminton players, two table tennis players and a cyclist. One swimmer is expected to join the team later in the week.

The competition, is reserved exclusively for athletes between the ages of 16 -17 will start on Thursday 22nd May to Saturday, 31st May.

There are two big incentives for Ghana’s participants in the competition: the competition will give the youngsters international exposure, and prepare them for the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, later this year.

For instance, the Ghana Athletics Association and the Ghana Swimming Federation will also be using the competition as qualifiers for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Ghana’s Chef De Mission for the AYG, Rev. Richmond Quarcoo commented about Team Ghana’s arrival in Gaborone.

‘Our team is doing well after arriving on Tuesday. There are no issues with accommodation, transportation, feeding and communication,’ he said.

‘The weather condition here is quite different from Ghana. It is currently 7 degrees Celsius.

‘Our athletes have started final preparation in a bid to acclimatize to local weather condition. That is why the GOC has always advised that our sports teams arrive at major competitions, at least four or five days prior to the commencement of the competition.’

‘Other teams from the West African sub region have been in Gaborone for the past week.’

‘Although we have not had enough preparation locally because of funding constraints, we are still hoping to raise the flag of Ghana high at the African Youth Games.’

Meanwhile, 2,500 athletes from 54 African Nations are set to take part in what has been billed as the biggest Youth Championship in Africa this year.

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