Ghana is set to host the first ever pickle ball exhibition competition for the 13th edition of the All African games in March 2024 at the University Of Ghana and Bortey man sports complex.
The moves precedes the launching of the pickleball sport launching in Ghana in March 2023, by the President of the Ghana Pickleball federation, Apostle D.r Kwabena Dautey Akufo, who also doubles as the president of Confederation of African pickle ball Federation.
After the launching of the sport in March, the pickleball federation has set out to unearth young prospects and talents to enhance the growth of the sport whiles equipping the individuals with a unique skill set. The desire to discover prospective talents has seen the Federation pitch its tent in the University of Ghana where they’ll play their inaugural tournament at the Athletic’s Ovals hand ball court.
Director of the Sports Directorate at the University Of Ghana, Dr.Bella Bello Bitugu was present at the event where he gave an insight and general overview of the fast growing nature of the game.
In an exclusive interview with UniversSports, Dr. Bitugu also spoke on the University of Ghana’s acceptance towards the sporting discipline at the training and facilitation of coaches and personnel on Thursday night at the handball court.
“Over last two years in African, there are about 12 federations and University of Ghana, as pace setters, were contacted a year and a half ago; we thought it was a fantastic idea. There’s never a limit to sporting discipline and activity so we received it very well because we know what it means for the young, for the aged and male and female and there was everything there that meant that it was something that should go on.
“Here we are today;cit has now been registered, recognized and it is also something that has featured at the UG@75 celebration as a demonstration sports. It is also going to be a demonstration sport at the 13th African games in March, which is being hosted by Ghana and of course this is the first ever training for coaches and referees in the country.”
President of Ghana pickleball federation, Apostle Dr. Kwabena Dautey Akufo added his expertise knowledge on the subject at the occasion. The president further outlined the aims of the federation in promoting the sport by reaching out to other parts of the country.
“We had a strategy where we wanted to reach out to the rest of Ghana and we were helped by the National sports authority. We were encouraged to get [the sport] to all the regions of Ghana. So our strategy started with the tertiary institutions, we have been going around and we’ve hit 9 tertiary institutions in 9 regions and we are hoping that by the end of the year we will hit all 16 regions.”
The training and facilitation of coaches and personnel was largely undertaken by 2nd Vice President of the International pickleball Federation, Ms.Tnyan Tran. The role of the 2nd vice president is to provide Leadership to thge IPF institute, ensure pickleball rules, tournament certification and equipment certification. Speaking in an exclusive interview with UniversSports, she was delighted with he progress of the sport in Ghana, applauding participating athletes for their efforts.
“It is going great, it’s a process…pickle ball is still new in Africa and not only in Africa but Asia and other continents. Even though the game has been invented over 50 years, it is still relatively new in most countries around the world. So this group of young men and ladies, most of them are coached from other sports so they already have the knowledge, the experience and the athleticism. They doing awesome in both for coaching and referee training,” she added.
What is Pickleball?
Pickleball is an outdoor or indoor paddle sport event which emerged from the United States of America in 1965 in the State of Washington in an island called Bainbridge. Joan Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney Bell are the people mostly credited as the progenitors of the sport, with the concept designed to be a game played between young kids in a background.
Pickleball is a sport in the similitude of tennis, combining features of tennis, badminton and ping pong where a plastic ball with holes is used to play. The sport has soared in contemporary times and was named as the official sport in Washington DC in 2022 after State Senator John Lovick’s proposed bid to make pickleball the official state sport was earlier declined in 2021.
The sport is governed by the International Pickleball Federation (IPF) and has its headquarters in Maryland in the United States of America. Pickleball was initially demonstrated at an International Olympic Committee event for the first time in March 2022 at the Maccabiah games.
Pickleball happens to be the fastest growing sport in America, with the IPF haven launched an initiative earlier in the year to reach out and extend their scope across the globe.
Story by: Andrews Sefa Bamfo | univers.ug.edu.gh