One of Ghana’s best moments at Tokyo Olympics was certainly the one involving Samuel Takyi accepting his bronze medal. The 20-year-old featherweight boxer is an Accra native, boxing since he was eight. He almost became a football player – he certainly had a talent for it – but he chose boxing. As a result, he had a chance to prove his worth to the world – and he did. Even though he lost the semifinal, he can indeed take pride in being the third-best boxer in his weight class in the entire world. And this is something he can truly be proud of.
This is, of course, not the first time Ghanaian athletes perform well at Summer Olympics. Over the years, they have collected three more bronze medals – and one silver.
Incidentally, the second Olympic medal won by a Ghanaian athlete also happened at a Summer Olympics hosted by Tokyo – in 1964. The athlete – another boxer called Edward “Eddie” Blay.
At the time of the Olympics, Blay already had a Commonwealth gold medal under his belt, in the light welterweight class. Two years after losing the quarterfinals to British boxer Richard McTaggart and winning the bronze, he went on to win his second Commonwealth gold medal in Kingston, in 1966.
In 1972, the Ghanaian boxing community was represented by Prince Amartey at the Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany. And once again, the result was a bronze. Amartey made his first attempt at an Olympic medal in the light-middleweight class in 1968 but lost. In 1972, he tried again in the middleweight and returned home with a bronze.
The one exception from the apparent rule was 1992 when the Summer Olympics was hosted by Barcelona, Spain. Boxer Stephen Ahialey was unable to win a medal. Instead, the Black Stars did the honors, plowing through opponents like Australia and Paraguay, only to be stopped by Spain two levels short of Olympic gold.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Olympic silver medal won by a Ghanaian athlete was also in boxing. The year was 1960, and the Olympic Games were hosted by Rome, Italy. Clement Quartey, fighting in the light welterweight class, was the older brother of Isufu “Ike” Quartey, himself a professional boxer and a former welterweight champion.
Clement Quartey didn’t only win at the 1960 Summer Olympics, becoming the first Ghanaian ever to win an Olympic medal, but also at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games – this time, he took home the gold.