A lot of us have been glued to the television or streaming platforms on our phones, tablets and laptops watching the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
While following the games, we have heard and witnessed stories of perseverance and grit as the athletes bare their souls on the journey to Olympic disappointment for some and Olympic glory for others.
All these have motivated others who would want to experience what it feels like to call yourself an Olympian and compete among and against the best of the very best athletes in the world.
Just in case you were one of the wide-eyed people who is relishing an opportunity of competing at the Olympics then here are a few things you must do to be able to achieve your dream.
1. Assess Your Physical Condition
There are a lot of sporting disciplines to choose from and all of them require varying levels of physical requirements. While you must generally be fit, you must also know where your strength comes from and that can help you on the next step of your journey. Mind you, even if you have any form of physical disability, you can still compete in the para-sports such as the Paralympics that will start in Tokyo on August 24.
2. Choose A Sport
Choosing the sporting discipline to specialise in is very essential. It could be gymnastics, athletics, football, table tennis, hockey, swimming and a lot more others. What you need to consider here is your own passion, because if you are going to be working out every day and put your body through all that then it must be for something you love.
3. Start Training
This is why the availability of facilities for your chosen sports is essential. Because after you make your choice, you have to start training. To get yourself in shape and make yourself ready for the world-class competition you are going to meet.
4. Ghana Olympic Committee And Others
While you have started training, you must also join the Ghana Olympic Committee. This body is the only institution in Ghana that submits athletes to compete in the Olympics. You must also join the national federation of your chosen sport. For instance, a footballer must join the Ghana Football Association, a swimmer must join the Ghana Swimming Association, the same applies to a boxer, hockey player, among others. When you join these bodies, they will help you get into other international competitions such as the African Games, African Cup of Nations and some regional competitions. Competing in all these games are essential to your Olympic journey.
5. Compete Compete Compete
While you are training and joining the institutions mentioned above, you must also sign up for local competitions. There are regional and national competitions. You must excel in these local competitions to have a chance of representing Ghana in any international competition even if it is being hosted in Ghana.
6. Hire A Coach
At the same time all these are going on, you must get a coach. A teacher who has been through it and can help you on your own journey. He or she can expose you to the latest techniques and help educate you on the rules and regulations in your chosen sporting discipline.
To become the kind of athlete who competes in world-class competitions such as the Commonwealth Games, Diamond League, World Championships, African Games and others, you need to commit a considerable amount of your time to train, working out and competing. Taken seriously, it must become your full-time job. As such you need to have funding to provide for yourself, pay your coach and your training as well. You can explore funding opportunities through scholarships which is not a big deal in Ghana. You can also apply for funding from the Ghana Olympic Committee. When you become successful with some form of publicity, you can also capitalise on that by landing influencer and/or brand ambassadorial roles.
8. National Trials
As you rise through the local scene and gain the attention of the national executives of your chosen sports, you will need to compete and excel in national championships which are held before major competitions.
In certain sport, minimum qualifications are set and you must make sure you achieve that or better. It could be time or your placement in certain competitions. Your coach should be able to help you here.
9. Qualify for the Olympics
This is where attending national trials are important. In cases where trials are not held, then you must be excelling in recognized international competitions to be able to make you the team that has been selected by the Ghana Olympic Committee to represent Ghana at the Olympics.
We hope this helps and hopefully, we will watch you in Paris 2024 Olympics or Paralympic Games!
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