Morocco: Black Cranes, Loopers Arrive in Rabat

Members of the national weightlifting team, the Black Cranes arrived in Rabat, Morocco yesterday for the 12th edition of the African Games which officially opens today.

The team, led by Assistant Coach, Nii Otoo Larkyne and team captain Christian Amoah left the country yesterday for the competition.

Other athletes for the competition include Winifred Ntumi, Jeremiah Benye and David Akwei.

The team would be joined in Morocco by the Technical Director of the Ghana Weightlifting Federation (GWF), Dr Kyle Pierce and London-based athlete Forrester Osei.

They will join the other members of the Ghanaian contingent for today's opening ceremony expected to showcase the various cultures of participating country.

According to Nii Larkyne, the athletes are not under pressure to impress at the competition though they would do well to make the nation proud.

He said, they have had enough preparations and would do their best to lift the nation high but will not put any undue pressure on his athletes.

The only female among them, 16-year-old Winifred Ntumi would compete in the female 45kg bodyweight category. She recently won bronze in the Africa Seniors Weightlifting Championship held in Cairo, Egypt in April.

She also won bronze in her first international competition which was the African Youth Olympic qualifiers and Junior Championships also held in Cairo last year in March. She is currently ranked 15th in her category at the world stage and number one in African.

Benye Teng-Gbul Jeremiah would also compete in the men's 81kg bodyweight category. He was selected based on his performance at training and at the international scene. He won two bronze at the 2018 African Youth Olympic qualifiers and Junior Championships held in Cairo and also finished eighth in the Africa Seniors Championship held in Cairo. He is ranked 26th in the world and number four in Africa.

Commonwealth bronze medalist, David Akwei will also compete in the 67kg bodyweight category. His first international competition in weightlifting was at the 2016 African Senior Championship in Yaoundé, Cameroon where he finished eighth. He won two bronze medals at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth, Junior and Senior Championship held in Gold Coast, Australia and again finished seventh at this year's African Senior Championship held in Cairo, Egypt. He is ranked 29th in the world and second in Africa.

London based, Osei Forrester would compete in the 96kg bodyweight. His first meet was at the 2015 African Games held in Brazzaville, Congo and followed to the 2015 IWF World Championship in Houston, USA where he finished 29th. In the following year, he competed in the African Senior Championship which was an Olympic Qualifier in Yaoundé, Cameroon and finished fifth to compete in the 2016 Junior and Senior Commonwealth Championships in Penang, Malaysia where he won gold.

Captain of the team, Christian Amoah is the most decorated athlete among the team and will also compete in the 96kg.

Meanwhile, the national table tennis team, Black Loopers, is hopeful of winning medals at the African Games.

Top seed, Derek Abrefa said the team would make the nation proud at the competition.

According to the coach of the team, Owusu Ansah, the players are very confident and were sure they could bring medals home.

The team includes, Emmanuel Commey, Felix Lartey, Samuel Akayade, Cynthia Kwabi and Lynda Annor.

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