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01.08.2005 Sports News

Minister congratulates award winning disabled athlete

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Accra, Aug. 1, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports on Monday congratulated Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, the physically challenged triathlete who last month received the Arthur Ashe Courage award in the US for his outstanding achievement.

Yeboah, 28, once a humble shoeshine boy was hosted by US popular talk show hostess, Oprah Windrey and even had lunch with US president George Bush.

"Your achievement is a shining example to all physically challenged persons. You have shown that a disability is not inability," the Minister said in an interview with the GNA Sports. He praised the triathlete (a person who competes in three events, cycling, swimming and running) for making the nation proud and most importantly, rising above his shortcomings to get to the top. Mr Osafo Maafo urged other physically challenged persons to take a cue from Yeboah's "fighting spirit" and get off the street and do something meaningful with their lives.

He pledged the ministry's support to Yeboah and all other hard working athletes to make a name for themselves and Ghana. Born disabled into a poverty-stricken home at Akyem Abuakwa, Yeboah could neither walk, run, nor stand. But he refused to accept a life of resignation and dreamt of riding a bicycle a cross Ghana, a distance of nearly 400 miles yet had no bike.

He wrote to the Challenged Athletes Foundation in the US for support and with that managed in September 2001 to ride 610-Kilometre wearing a T-shirt with the inscription "The Pozo."

After, the foundation invited Yeboah to compete in a triathlon in the US during which the San Diego hospital in California donated the surgery and equipment necessary to fit Yeboah with a prosthetic limb. With that, Yeboah could now walk, run, swim, and play football. Yeboah also won the 2001 Casey Martin Award, presented by Nike and several Audience Awards at film festival in the US.

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