Canoe Sprint – a Growing Sport in Ghana

Located in eastern Ghana, lying on the Atlantic Ocean coast

Ada, the ideal place to practice Canoe Sprint
Ada, the ideal place to practice Canoe Sprint

Located in eastern Ghana, lying on the Atlantic Ocean coast on the estuary of the River Volta, Ada is well known for its exotic beaches and water sports. It was the perfect place for a 10 day course which was held at the beginning of December, 2009. 22 athletes (15 men, 7 women) and six trainee coaches were taken through the paces of Canoe Sprint.


The course was composed of two parts, Theory and Practice. The theory lessons were aimed to provide coaches and athletes with basic knowledge and a solid foundation of information and skills needed by coach beginners and advanced level in Canoe Sprint.


The subjects of the theory lectures included, among other things, canoe and kayak technique, teaching and training techniques, safety and security and the official Canoe Sprint rules. Practical sessions were conducted in Ada which is suitable for canoe sprint activities, with safety boats provided locally. The canoes in town are made by hand from local palm trees and painted bright yellow, red and green.


Overall the athletes’ abilities were of a high standard, especially the Canoeists; both men and women. During the course some talented athletes were identified for the ICF’s development project that prepares athletes for London 2012. There was also one disabled athlete in attendance and he showed great interest and enthusiasm.


Issac Adopleh is 26 years old, a Paracanoe athlete in the TA class. He is a fisherman and has always used his traditional canoe to cross the rivers for fishing. He transports his family by canoe everyday from his island to the other side of the river to go into town. He was keen to join the course with the able athletes and had no idea about Paracanoe and the Paddle All activities within the ICF. Once he heard all about it and the Paralympic Bid, the talented Mr Adoplech, showed real determination to become a champion. With this in mind, the ICF will support him next year and he has been invited to the 2010 Canoe Sprint World Championship in Poznan.


In Ghana, the canoe is a part of the traditional lifestyle, it is the mode of transport especially for fishing, and the canoes are made by hand from local palm trees. In Ada, children go to school by canoe; they paddle for more than one hour to reach the side of the river.


Ghana Rowing and Canoe Association decided to hold the course after their strong delegation in last year’s African Championship in the Ivory Coast, it was the first ever appearance at such an important event and their participation was a positive step for developing the sport in the country. The president of Ghana Rowing and Canoe Association Mr Tackie-Kommey (Member of Parliament in Ghana) said that developing the sport of canoeing was one of his priorities in preparation for London 2012 and he proposed a series of canoe and kayak competitions in 2010 to unearth budding talents.


For more information on courses held throughout Africa, contact Seifudin Patwa (Secretary General of the Confederation of African Canoeing).

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