The people of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, have come to the aid of Ghana’s neglected cycling team, providing essentials from helmets and more for the team.Nana Osei, a Ghanaian citizen living in Australia (who is also a member for the Ghanaian Queensland Association) reached out to AmeyawDebrah.com to register his surprise and embarrassment reading articles on how the Ghana team went into the competition almost with no support from Ghana. According to reports they went to Australia with coach, shoddy gear and no bikes.
He said: “To my dismay, I found that not only are the locals helping with helmets and accessory gears but there is also a Facebook page and a “Go Fund Me” account to raise an amount of AUD $5000 to support the national cycling team”
A Gold Coast businessman and GC Bike Fit owner, Peter Spencer was approached to help provide a chaperone to the Ghana’s athletes as they rode around the unfamiliar roads of the Gold Coast. But in no time Mr Spencer realised the three road cyclists and two wheelchair athletes were preparing to compete at the Games, with little or no resources.
After calling in favours and putting the message out on social media, Mr Spencer has been able to source new bikes, helmets, shoes and clothing for the athletes. He’s also got the local cycling community to take the athletes out on training rides in the Gold Coast conditions.
“I have become the dog’s body of doing anything bike-related with them,” Mr Spencer told AAP
“What started as going out for a bike ride with them, I’ve lost that opportunity … because I’m also the coach and logistics coordinator while on the side, accidentally, starting this charity movement.”
Mr Spencer says what started out as a peer-to-peer movement is now a genuinely commercial sponsorship operation.
Individuals have also chipped in from all over Australia with cyclists from around the country donating gear or funds to the team.
Mr Spencer says he’s unsure at this stage if his unofficial role with the team will continue during the Games.
He says there’s no doubt the Ghanaian athletes are better prepared for the event however.
“They go okay,” he said.
“Their opportunities to race in Africa, at best, are once a month.”