The Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon.Nii Lantey Vanderpuye has represented His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama at the Independence Day Anniversary Challenge Cup at the New Accra Race Course at Adjiriganor in Accra.
The Maiden event was organized by the Accra Turf Club (ATC) at their new race course. The main event was run over a distance of six furlongs by eight horses and at the end of which Hajia, ridden by Ismaila Musah emerged the winner. In the other three race categories, twenty horses competed in races over five furlongs.
Welcoming the Minister on behalf of the Accra Turf Club, the chairman of the Club, Mr. Robert Odenkey Mensah said they were very happy to have one of their own amongst them. He said horse racing which was one of the most promising sports has had a checkered history.
Recalling how they came to be at their new place, the chairman said people fought hard to protect their former venue but unfortunately they lost it and said most of those people could not live to see the new facility.He said horse racing as a sport has gone through difficulties in the past but with the venue, things are likely to improve.
Mr.Mensah told the Minister that the new venue was acquired through the support of the late President John Evans Atta Mills whose personal intervention has helped them to procure the land.
He acknowledged the contributions of all the people who in one way or the other have helped the development of the sports in the country and called for a minutes’ silence in memory of their departed colleagues. .
Speaking during the presentation of the Cup, the Hon. Minister thanked the members of the Accra Turf Club for their effort in reviving horse racing. He said he was highly delighted to see so many spectators watching the event which is indicative of the strong love the people have for the sports.
Hon.Nii Lantey Vanderpuye recalled with nostalgia the excitement horse racing generated during his days as a young sports journalist when he used to cover such programmes. “Those were the days of horses like” Sea Never Dry” and “Ono Dzi Ono.” He reminisced.
He thanked Vanguard Assurance Company for sponsoring the Independence Day Cup and urged other sponsors to also come to the aid of the Accra Turf Club in order to nurture the sports .He pledged his Ministry’s support for horse racing and promised to recommend companies who sponsor the sport to government for tax rebate.
Present at the programme was the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr. Victor Xola Senaya.