The French Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Jules Armand Aniambossou, has reiterated the need to nurture sports talents as a tool for growth and development on the continent.
The 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympics Games roar off from July 26 to August 11, 2024.
He said Ghana was endowed with a rich reservoir of talents that could be used to develop the country and also create growth and wealth.
Mr Aniambossou made these remarks at a brief, but imposing ceremony at the Freedom Skate Park in Accra yesterday to mark 500 days ahead of the quadrennial games in Paris.
The day was also used to celebrate skateboarding, one of the latest additions to the Olympic Games.
Organised by the French Embassy in collaboration with the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), the Ambassador said his outfit had supported many projects in the talent-developing sectors.
He cited the contributions of the French Development Agency (FDA) which supported Surf Ghana to build the first Skate Park in Ghana to promote skate-boarding as a tool for social empowerment for the youth, women and girls.
Skateboarding was one of four new sports added to the Olympic programme for 2020; it is also approved for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
According to him, though it was his first time in Ghana, he was elated at the progress Ghana had chalked with regard to sports as both countries share a common passion in sports.
Ambassador Aniambossou asserted that talents in Ghana should be organised and influenced in the right direction.
"I'm very glad to see what these young skateboarders have started and when they are well-organised and influenced, they will contribute to create growth, activities and jobs."
The Ambassador added that his team was in touch with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), National Sports College, National Sports Authority (NSA), and other bodies to start preparations towards the Olympics - especially with breakdancing and skateboarding.
"These two new disciplines will be part of the 2024 Games in Paris and I'm very sure these skaters will become the stars of tomorrow and the future of sports in Ghana. Today they are practicing in Ghana (East Legon), but tomorrow they will participate in the next Olympic Games."
The Deputy Minister of MOYS, Mr Evans Bobie Osei, said together with the Government, GOC and French Embassy, skateboarding as a sport would be developed in other parts of the country and not only in East Legon.
He assured the French Embassy of the government's readiness through the MOYS to partner the discipline and ensure next year's Olympic Games becomes the best.
Mr Osei added that Ghana would fully participate in next year's Games, calling on corporate Ghana to support and identify more talents ahead of the world's biggest sports festival.
For his part, President of the GOC, Mr Ben Nunoo Mensah, said skateboarding presented a grand opportunity for young boys and girls to live their dream - and called on stakeholders - especially the media, to project them to the highest level to enable them elicit the needed attention and corporate sponsorship.
The GOC boss appealed to the French Embassy to support Team Ghana's campaign in Paris as it embarks on preparations ahead of the Games.
Mr Nunoo Mensah took the opportunity to appeal to French companies in Ghana to respond favourably to the requests of the GOC for support when it comes calling, "as we plan to send a sizable number of athletes to the Games."
Present at the event were Ghana's Chef de Mission for the Paris 2024 Games, Mr Isaac Duah, some members of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ghana Sports Authority and the Tennis Foundation as well as scores of skateboaders, who thrilled the audience to some glittering performance.
Skateboarding is an action sport originating in the United States that involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard.