Ghana’s first skeleton Olympian, Akwasi Frimpong, says he is awaiting financial support from any of the sporting associations to enable him to engage a coach to help him train hard to qualify for the 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
Frimpong, who is constantly lifting high the flag of the nation, has been in top form recently as he twice qualified for the finals of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation Pyeongchang Inter Continental Cup held last week in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Skeleton is a winter sliding sport in which a person rides a small sled, known as a skeleton bobsled (or -sleigh), down a frozen track while lying face down and head-first.
Even without a coach, the 2018 Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) award winner finished 19th and 20th in two competitions out of 24 athletes.He beat participants from the Netherlands, Belguim, South Africa, Luxembourg and New Zealand.
He told the Graphic Sports from his base in The Netherlands about his plight and how he needed a trainer urgently.
“I’m proud of what I have accomplished, but there is still so much work ahead of me before the 2022 Olympics. I hope in the upcoming season, I can find the support I need to have a sliding coach to make bigger strides for Ghana.
“Qualifying for the Olympics is going to be extremely difficult if I don’t have a sliding coach and the resources of the country. I trust something good will happen. I just have to keep working hard and stay relentless and positive,” he asserted.
The 2018 winter Olympian is currently ranked 76th out of 150 skeleton athletes in the world and he says he can still do better.
“If I get the support of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) or the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), I can do better.
“The new Olympic qualification standard for skeleton for Beijing 2022 doesn’t have a continental spot for Africa like the previous outing. Therefore, I need to qualify the same way as big nations. I can achieve this with the rightful support (money and resources) from the appropriate quarters,” he underscored.
The 33-year-old Ghanaian-born Dutch said he was grateful to some companies for keeping faith in him.
“I want to thank my head sponsor, Ghana Gas, whose support has been critical to my growth this season. Team Murdock Hyundai from Murray, Utah, has made my travelling to training locally possible since 2017 and my new sponsor, Forever Living Products International, has been supporting me with their amazing products”, he noted.