Ghana’s Tokyo and Oregon bound men’s relay team have made a passionate appeal to Government of Ghana and the sports ministry for support ahead of their participation at Olympics in July and World Athletics Championship next year.

The quartet of Joseph Paul, Joseph Manu, Sean Safo Antwi and Benjamin Azamati simultaneously qualified for Tokyo 2020 and World Athletics Championship in Oregon, USA at this year’s World Relay championship in Poland

On the first day of the race in Silesia, the team run a time of 38.79s, tied with the Netherlands but had to settle for 2nd place after it was determined their European counterparts finished 8000th of a second ahead of them, but the result was enough to secure berths at the World event available.

The quartet proved their mettle again in the final of the world relay championship after finishing 3rd in a time of 39.11s but were disqualified as a result of a late changeover between Benjamin Azamati and Joseph Manu.

Despite a lack of thorough preparation and no time together the team’s performance held the national spell bound.

Indeed after winning Gold at 2019 Africa games in Rabat, and competing at the World Athletics Championships in September 2019, the quartet did not meet or practice as a team till two days before the World relays in Poland.

National 100m record holder Benjamin Azamati minced no words in emphasizing the urgent need for support..

“I don’t want to compare but there are certain things put in place for other sport disciplines but when it comes to us, we don’t really get that support.”

So I think they choosing another sport over this – clearly we are really doing well and if they put us together to work for some months or weeks, we are really going to put up some good performances. The performances are speaking for us it’s about time we do all these things,” Azamati lamented.

Ghana's men relay team qualifies for World Athletics Championships
The quartet of Joseph Paul, Joseph Manu , Sean Safo Antwi and Benjamin Azamati simultaneously have qualified for the 2020 Olympics and the World Athletics Championship in Oregon

Azamati’s plight was also shared by National 200m record holder Joseph Paul who indicated that despite the country’s sporting priorities, they should not be looked down upon.

“To add a little bit to what they said, we are not expecting them to do th greatest of things for us. We understand Ghana is a soccer nation, America is a football nation although they put so much money into football and all that, they still support track and field. So we’re not expecting Ghana to give us all the money. We know soccer is our best and we love soccer but can we at least get some support?? It’s so clear, look at the margin, we just heard about some $25m for someone and I don’t even know how much we got. So comparing stuff like that, we’re not expecting you to give us $25m but show us that you love and support us.”

For a team clocking such times even with limited training opportunities, they deserve more. Joseph Manu was adamant that their performances demand such support and expressed worry about falling down the international pecking order if they continue to miss the training camps other countries put together for their athletes.

“With the support, look at us, we’re running for Ghana right now. We’re representing a country out here and we’re running in our school gears we don’t have a training camp. The teams we’re competing with set up training camps for like weeks, months and we have to compete with them on the same level and see how challenging it will be for us compared to them and we’re still trying to make the times right.”

Ghana’s appearance at Tokyo later this year, will be their first time since 2004 the country has been represented at the relay event of the Olympics.