When Samuel Takyi steps into the ring to face the USA’s Duke Ragan on Tuesday at dawn, he will be motivated by a few things. The young boxer, on his Olympic debut seems to be carrying Ghana’s pride achievement-wise.

Takyi was impressive and showed the ability to fight back after his display in the second and final rounds of his bout against Colombia’s David Avilla. Once again the Ghanaian comes up against a more experienced opponent and will be relying on his talent and the cheering voices of his team mates in the Kokugikan Arena. Ragan has an amateur record of 63 wins and 22 losses and has fought in many competitions in the US, Peru, Germany and Poland. What has drawn the foreign media to Takyi’s story is his show of character and how he has risen above his relatively low experience to make the kind of achievement he has made. The Olympic qualifier in Senegal last year marked his first ever major competition outside the shores of Ghana. Meanwhile, a few things could give the extra push for the 20-year-0ld to push beyond his limits

The GHC60,000 gold challenge Prize from Geodrill
What we may not know is that Mr Dave Harper, President  and CEO of Geodrill Limited,  the mining and drilling experts based in Ghana, made an announcement months ahead of Ghana’s participation in the event when he hosted the team at his office in Accra.

The Geodrill Gold Rush challenge, as the name suggests, will reward every Ghanaian athlete at the Tokyo Games, who wins a gold medal with GHC 60,000.

Dave Harper has been a devoted friend of Ghana boxing for the last many years and has handed support in various forms at various points for both amateur and professional boxing. It’s also instructive to note that he is a personal friend of the legendary Azumah Nelson.

“I want the boxers to make the ultimate goal. It will be good to see them reach for the ultimate. This is why I want to show appreciation with this gesture,” he told Joy Sports.

Limited medal hopes for Ghana
As the situation stands, Ghana has run out of options for any options and gradually the hopes seem to be resting on Takyi’s novice shoulders. The men’s 4×100 meters relay team, who are the current champions of Africa, are hoping to make an impact as they go into competition in the next 72 hours.

The boxing team’s captain Sulemanu Tetteh was eliminated in the quarter finals while light heavyweight Shakul Samir lost out due to his loss in his very first bout. Benjamin Azamati, who ran a sub 10 seconds time to qualify for the Olympics was unable to make it from his heat in the 100 meters sprints with Nadia Eke, failing to make it in the triple jump events. The latter also called time on her 15 year career.

Abeiku Jackson, who goes down in Ghana’s history as the nation’s first to qualify for the Olympics four years ago won his heat in the 100 m butterfly event with a time of 53.39 but was unable to make it through, to join a set of 16 qualified swimmers for the next stage. Unilez Takyi hardly qualified in the women’s 50 m freestyle event after recording a time of   27.85 seconds. In the phase of that occurrence Abeiku set a national record as his time beat the previous record of 53.53 secs.

The weightlifting event had a similar story of disappointment for Ghana. Christian Amoah finished fourth in the 96 kg event while in judo Kwadwo Anaani after drawing a bye in the preliminary stage lost in the men’s 90 kg event.

The will to add to the Ghanaian Olympic boxing legacy
Takyi’s assured bronze has made boxing Ghana’s most successful sport in the Olympic Games. It is also very instructive to note that the sport is Ghana’s most successful at the senior or professional level as well considering that it has produced 10 world champions for Ghana.

Coincidentally the legendary Eddie Blay won his bronze medal in the men’s light welterweight category in the same city of Tokyo back in 1964. The team’s coach Ofori Asare, told Joy Sports ahead of the team’s departure that he had a feeling history would repeat itself. Takyi’s resolve to go for gold also has the foundation of the earlier achievements of the legendary Blay in Tokyo and Clement Ike Quartey’s silver in Rome in 1960 and Prince Amartey’s bronze in 192 in Munich.