With competition for places intensifying and many athletes desperate to make an impression at the Rio Olympics, Class Sports has been following some potential athletes who could make an impression in the Ghana colours in the not-too-distant future.
Sean Safo-Antwi is a London-based sprinter training in the best sprints group in Europe. He is from humble beginnings and has casually been competing in athletics since 2009.
In 2011 he was ranked 78th in the 100m in the UK, but was plagued with multiple injuries and was on the verge of quitting the sport. In 2012, he was still underperforming, under-motivated, and gave up on all hope of becoming an elite sprinter.
In the face of all these undesirable challenges though, there was a massive turnaround in the career of this young man when he joined his new training group, Speedworks. From this point he has largely overcome his injuries, increased his understanding of what it takes to be an elite athlete, and was ranked in the top five in the 100m in the UK in 2015.
After a lot of soul-searching, Sean has decided to compete for Ghana. Some may wonder why he would choose to run for Ghana, as there are more funding opportunities and support within the UK.
Sean, however, recognises that the length of a sprinter’s career is short, and now that he is in top form, he would like to compete for his motherland, make his family proud, and inspire the next generation of Ghanaian athletes to use athletics to develop themselves.
Using sport to develop as a person is very important to Sean. Where he is from and grew up cannot be compared to the slums of Africa, but is pretty bad for England. Sean has witnessed his friends and family suffering with adversity and has used his passion and commitment to sport to take a different path in life.
The days when the Emmanuel Tuffours, the Myles-Mills brothers, Solomon Amegatchers, Abdul Aziz Zakaris, Eric Nkansahs and co made Ghana proud on the track seem to be long gone.
Ghana has never been far away from the remotest hope of landing a medal at any international event of note. It is a pity, if not pathetic. Quarter-final appearances in the sprints are a luxury now. Zakari, Mills, and Tuffuor regularly made the semis and finals amongst some of the legends of the sport. Andrew Owusu made the final of the long jump in 1996 in Atlanta. Those memories continue to linger on my mind watching these events on screen years ago.
Would Ghana, and by extension the Ghana Athletics Authority, take a chance on Sean? Time will tell.