Ghana is racing against the clock as it gears up to welcome athletes from across the continent for the 13th African Games, with key venues for the sporting extravaganza looking almost set, signalling Ghana’s readiness to accommodate over 3,500 elite athletes.
Fresh images from the newly-built Borteyman Complex, the University of Ghana Stadium, Achimota Cricket Oval and the Accra Sports Stadium pitch offer a glimpse into the extensive preparations underway for the event scheduled from March 8 to March 23.
On Tuesday, February 13, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is set to launch the 25-day countdown to the 13th African Games with the ceremony also serving as a trial run for the facilities that will host the competitions.
Key venues such as the University of Ghana Stadium and the newly-built Borteyman Sports Complex will be at the heart of the action, hosting a wide array of events, including swimming, basketball, badminton and weightlifting. Additionally, football matches will be held at the Cape Coast Stadium and the Accra Sports Stadium.
Information available to Graphic Sports indicates that 49 member states of the African Union have confirmed participation in the games, with five — Cape Verde, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan and South Sudan — yet to confirm participation.
Participating countries include Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The rest are Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Executive Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Dr Kwaku Ofosu-Asare, told the Graphic Sports about the close collaboration with Ghanaian sports federations to conduct trials and ensure the facilities were in top condition ahead of the games.
He highlighted the significance of the African Games, stating that of the 23 competitive sporting events, eight would serve as qualifiers for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
These events include athletics, badminton, cycling, wrestling, swimming, tennis, table tennis and triathlon.
Additionally, there will be six demonstration sports during the competition.
Despite concerns about readiness and publicity, the LOC boss remains confident that the 25-day countdown event will showcase the facilities to the entire African continent.
In preparation for the games, Team Ghana has intensified its training with a residential camp at the Cape Coast Stadium. Athletes have been undergoing rigorous training since January 9, with plans to continue training in Accra and participate in the testing of the new sporting facilities.