The 26th Ghana Universities Sports Association (GUSA) Games was officially opened on 6th January, 2020, at the University of Ghana’s Mensah Sarbah Field. The Games which is under the distinguished patronage of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, is themed “Integrating Sports into Academia for Youth Empowerment and Development.”
In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor urged GUSA to aspire to move beyond the scope of competitions and tournaments by making sports a sustainable venture where public universities would become the hub for national teams and elite sports.
Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu
Prof. Oduro Owusu recounted that the University of Ghana has made significant strides towards the integration of sports into academia through the design and implementation of strategies in developing sports; notably the University of Ghana Policy on Admission of Athlete Students (UG-PAAS) and the University of Ghana Sports Fund of which more than four hundred student athletes have enrolled. He added that the University has completed the first phase of its sports infrastructure and will focus on expanding and reviewing the UG-PASS, the UG-Sports Fund, establishing a UG Sports Policy and a Sports Infrastructure Development Strategy in the next five years.
The Vice-Chancellor expressed gratitude to the Government of Ghana for the provision of funds towards the completion of the first phase of the University of Ghana Stadium and was hopeful for additional funds to complete the outstanding phase. He also acknowledged the sacrifices made by student athletes for their respective Universities and Ghana Sports and the efforts by the Local Organisation Committee of GUSA 2020, led by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, (both former and present) Director of Sports of the University of Ghana, Sports Ambassador, Patron, sponsors, and numerious stakeholders for their support and dedication to the GUSA games.
The Vice-Chancellor on behalf of the University received an amount of Fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH₵ 50,000) from, Absa Group Limited for the development of sports in the University.
Chair of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Affairs), Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, in brief remarks pledged the University’s preparedness to provide support as well as infrastructure for GUSA, and also provide leadership and space for University sports to flourish, while setting the pace in enacting policies and driving strategies. She indicated that the Local Organising Committee has introduced innovations such as Karaoke and movie nights, live broadcast of football matches, indoor and outdoor games and variety shows. This according to Prof. Amfo, is to help athletes and officials relax after the day’s activities and also establish lifelong relationships.
Professor. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo
Dr. Bella Bello Bitugu, Director of Sports at the University of Ghana and Co-Chair of the Local Organising Committee, acknowledged the presence of distinguished personalist present at the ceremony. He applauded the intervention of Vice-Chancellors’ Ghana in the restructuring of GUSA indicating that this had been very timely to ensure sustainability, transparency and effective integration of sports in the academic curricula of public Universities in Ghana. He added that GUSA must aspire to move beyond the scope of competitions in tournaments by making sports very sustainable which will move towards developing and nurturing talents in sports.
The President for GUSA, Dr. Charles Dumfeh in his remarks, applauded young men and women who in addition to their core mandate of acquiring academic degrees have decided to participate in sports for their respective institutions and nation. He used the opportunity to encourage the athletes to take advantage of GUSA 2020 to showcase their talent and participate fairly and competitively since this could serve as a serve as a spring board to their sporting career. He pleaded for funds as a matter of urgency for the development of sports infrastructure on the various University campuses to restore Ghana’s past sports glory internationally. Dr. Dumfeh disclosed that Ghana has won the bid to host the Federation of African University Sports (FASU) games in 2022 and urged member institutions of GUSA to embrace this call “as it will be great to see all African universities come to Ghana for FASU 2022” he concluded.
President of GUSA, Dr.Charles Damfel
Miss Millicent Njomaba, a student athlete of University of Ghana on behalf of her colleague athletes pledged to abide by the rules and regulations of the games to promote fair-play while Mr. Julius Baba Apidogo, Coach of the University of Education, Winneba, pledged on behalf of officiating members to do same.
The 26th GUSA games is witnessing for the first time eleven (11) institutions competing for laurels. These institutions comprise University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast, University of Education, Winneba, University for Development Studies, University of Mines and Technology, University of Professional Studies, University of Energy and Natural Resources and University of Health and Allied Sciences. The new entrants at this year’s competition are the Ghana Institute of Journalism and Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Over two thousand athletes from the above-mentioned institutions will compete in disciplines including Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Football, Goalball, Handball, Hockey, Netball, Table Tennis, Tennis and Volleyball. Beach Volleyball which was experimented at the 25th edition has been adopted as part of the official disciplines.
Some talented athletes to grace the field and tracks during the Games include the fastest student athlete in Africa and African Games Champion, Benjamin Azamati and 400 Meters Bronze winner at the African Games, Grace Obour both of University of Ghana, Edwin Gadayi of University of Cape Coast, Neeyi Akesseh of University of Education, Winneba, Kate Agyeman and Rafiatu Nuhu both of University for Development Studies, Tamale.
The opening ceremony also witnessed a colourful display of rich Ghanaian culture by the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Ghana Dance Ensemble, (UG) and peaceful co-existence of the 4 traditional blocks of the country. An opening football match saw the University of Ghana trash their counterparts, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration 3–0 Hon. Lydia Seyram Alhassan, Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency; Patrons of GUSA; Executive Council Members of GUSA; GUSA Local Organising Committee members, Officials / Heads of participating universities, sport patrons and the media fraternity were present to grace the occasion.
The 26th GUSA Games dubbed Legon 2020 will end on January 19, 2020.