Catapulting Ghanaian Sport to Global Prominence – Case Study of Hosting the All Africa Games


It takes an average Olympic cycle (four years) to produce world-class athletes

The first two articles focused on the socio-economic and legacy benefits that a country hosting the African Games would derive from hosting the Games.

This article will examine how athletes, especially those in less sponsored disciplines, sports officials and their nations have benefited from hosting the African Games.

A total of ten (10) countries have hosted the previous 12 editions of the All Africa Games. Three countries have each hosted the Games twice; Nigeria (1973, 2003), Algeria (1978, 2007) Congo Brazzaville (1965, 2015). Countries that have hosted it once are Kenya (1987), Egypt (1991), Zimbabwe (1995), South Africa (1999), Mozambique (2011) and Morocco (2019).

When a country has the opportunity to host the All Africa Games, it aims to win more medals during the Games and therefore invests in its athletes, especially those in less sponsored sports, sports officials and sports facilities.

As a result, athletes and sports officials benefit immensely and the country is well placed to host future international competitions.

It takes an average Olympic cycle (four years) to produce world-class athletes, especially after they have been exposed to world-class facilities, training and competition.

For example, at the African Table Tennis Championship in 1973, Ghanaians Ethel Jacks and Emmanuel Aryee Quaye won gold medals in the women’s and men’s respectively as Ghana became the overall champion ahead of the , second.

NIGERIA

After the 1973 All Africa Games in Lagos, Atanda Musa of Nigeria became African champion 10 times in a row and was ranked 20th in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) world rankings between the late 1970s and the late 1990s. Moreover, after Nigeria hosted the African Games for the second time in 2003 in Abuja, it produced Aruna Quadri who is the best player in Africa and is currently ranked among the top 14 players in table tennis in the world, according to the ITTF rankings in 2022.

After hosting the 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, the popularity of basketball in the country skyrocketed and Nigeria was able to produce top basketball players who aspired to greatness like NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon who is born in Nigeria but emigrated to the United States where he honed his skills to become one of the best players of his generation.
Moreover, Nigeria has produced outstanding athletes and can now boast of having 28 athletes in the top 100 of the world athletics rankings with three reigning world champions.

ALGERIA

In line with the cycle shown above, Algeria began winning Olympic medals after hosting the All Africa Games in 1978. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Algeria won bronze in boxing. In Barcelona in 1992, he won a gold medal in athletics and a bronze in boxing. At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, Algeria won two gold medals in athletics and boxing and a bronze in boxing.

EGYPT

Egypt became a powerhouse in handball after hosting the 1991 All Africa Games and was ranked among the top 5 countries in the world. Egypt placed fourth, sixth and seventh at the following Olympic Games between 1992 and 2004.

Having hosted international competitions with required world-class infrastructure, host countries can also offer some of these facilities as the headquarters of African confederations.

It should be noted that the countries that had hosted the African Games dominate the location of the headquarters of the African sports confederation in their country with Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe leading the pack. . The most important are football (CAF) and the African Association of Sports Confederations (AASC) in Egypt; Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) in Nigeria and fencing, swimming and cricket confederations in South Africa.

It could be said that the countries that hosted the African Games continued to use the networks established during the organization of the Games to later promote their sports officials to head the confederations and also sit on the boards of African and international confederations.

Hosting the 13th All Africa Games Accra 2023 will accelerate the development of less sponsored sports and also serve as a springboard for athletes to gain international prominence. It will also be a turning point for Ghanaian sports officials to become major players not only in Africa but globally.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s legacy of establishing a Sport for Development University will help in all of these areas and will catapult Ghanaian sports to the forefront of the world stage.

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