Cocoa from Ghana is sponsoring Akwasi Frimpong on his road to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Akwasi wants to put Ghana on the map by becoming the second Ghanaian national to take the Winter Olympics by storm. His road to the top was not a smooth one, but that’s what makes his story so inspiring.
Akwasi moved from Ghana to the Netherlands at the age of eight. With no residence permit, he was unable to study or work. Sport became his outlet and running became his passion.
Johan Cruyff believed in Akwasi and gave him the opportunity to develop his talent at the Johan Cruyff College. After thirteen years, he was finally granted a residence permit. His first success was winning gold at the Dutch Junior Championships in 2003 for the 200 meter sprint. Unfortunately, he broke his ankle shortly after this win. His world seemed to fall apart, but he never lost hope.
Once Akwasi had recovered from his injury, he moved to the United States to train and work. To pay for his dream, he started selling vacuum cleaners, which eventually proved to be a lucrative job. In 2012, he began training for the Olympic Games in London, but he failed to qualify.
In 2013, Akwasi’s sports career took a surprising turn. His coach thought he would make a great addition to the Dutch bobsled team because of his size and speed. Unfortunately, he did not make the Dutch team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Akwasi shifted his focus to his work and his studies, but he couldn’t shake his athletic ambitions for long. He stuck to his passion for the ice, but decided to try something new, making his debut as a skeleton athlete. He now races across the ice at the record speed of 130 kilometres per hour.
Ghana on the map
Skeleton appeared to be the perfect sport for Akwasi, as he is currently ranked 95th in the world. If he manages to secure a top-60 spot by January, he will qualify for the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. He plans to represent Ghana as a way to give something back to his native country. As an ambassador of the Right to Play foundation, his mission is to inspire Ghanaian youth.
‘I’m incredibly happy with the support of Cocoa from Ghana,’ says Akwasi. ‘This organisation represents two countries that have played an important role in my life. Until now, I’ve done a lot for the U.S. and the Netherlands, but I haven’t been able to do as much for the country where I was born. This time, I want to give something back and help put Ghana on the map by excelling at skeleton. If I qualify for the Olympics, I hope to serve as a beacon of hope. I want to inspire people to follow their dreams and show them that they really do come true.’
Going for gold
Cocoa from Ghana is proud to sponsor Akwasi on his road to PyeongChang. ‘We wanted to support Akwasi because we are convinced that his qualities and perseverance make him an excellent contender for the Olympic Games,’ says spokesperson Joost Bellaart. ‘He is an exemplary athlete who has proven that teamwork and willpower can help you succeed, even when the cards are stacked against you.’
If Akwasi takes first place in PyeongChang, he will become the first Ghanaian national to ever win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. We wish Akwasi the best of luck on his road to gold!
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