A five-star multi-sports facility has been secured for Ghana's contingent to next year's Olympic Games in Japan.
The ultra-modern edifice, akin to a four-star hotel, was the outcome of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) and the Japanese government in the city of Inawashiro, Japan, recently.
Per the MOU, provision has been made exclusively for a contingent of 30 athletes and officials who will be entitled to free meals and accommodation as well as the use of the training facility that included football pitches.
President of the GOC, Ben Nunoo Mensah, who confirmed this in an interview with the Times Sports yesterday, said the facility would host Team Ghana up to a period of three months.
The agreement is expected to save Ghana about $150,000, being monies to be expended on the country's contingent in respect of feeding and accommodation for the entire duration of the Games.
Potentially, five hundred delegates from Ghana are also expected to be lodged at the Inawashiro facility for free, but may have to take care of their own feeding.
The GOC president was particularly grateful to the Mayor of Inawashiro, Mr Hiroshi Zengo, Mr Frank Okyere, Ghana's Ambassador to Japan, Ms Abigail Quarshie, a Senior Consular and Mr Kwame Aikins, Head of Chancery - both at the Ghana Embassy in Japan, for the tremendous roles they played in bringing the MOU into fruition.
According to Mr Nunoo Mensah, the people of Inawashiro have some deep affection for Ghanaians because of the revered Japanese, Dr Hideyo Nguchi, who died in Ghana.
The distinguished Japanese researcher, Dr Noguchi, researched into yellow fever in Ghana and died from the disease in the country in 1928.
Decades later, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), was set up in 1979 as a semi-autonomous institute of the University of Ghana. It is now the leading biomedical research facility in the country.
"In view of the love they have for Ghanaians, we are told the people of Inawashiro have decided to form supporter groups to rally behind Team Ghana during the Games," he revealed, adding "they pray Ghana's football team qualifies as well."
Fifty-six years after having organised the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital of Tokyo will be hosting the quadrennial festival for the second time, from July 24 to August 9, 2020.