Meet The Only Two Women Representing Ghana At The Tokyo Olympics.PART 1: Unilez Takyi (#Pulse Contributor’s Opinion)

Tokyo 2020 is barely days away and many Ghanaians are looking forward to a spectacle of staggering Olympic performances from the various Ghanaian athletes. This will be the nation’s fifteenth appearance at the Summer Olympic Games. Fourteen athletes will be representing the country and will be on a quest to collect as many medals for Ghana in their respective events. Ghana has not won an Olympic medal since the Black meteors won a bronze medal at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic games. The various athletes in their diverse events will be hoping to end the twenty-nine-year-medal drought.

Unilez Takyi, Ghana’s representative for the 50m freestyle swim event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Ghana will be participating in six major sporting disciplines: athletics, judo, boxing, swimming, triple jump, and weightlifting. Two women will represent Ghana out of the fourteen athletes, and it is their dream to hoist the flag of Ghana high enough for the world to witness. Same Fourteen athletes were presented at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil but there was an equal ratio of men to women.

This year is a whole different script and more suspense hovers around the only two women who will represent the country this time. Ghanaians are wondering how this will play out.

Nadia Eke will contest in the triple jump event whilst sixteen-year-old Unilez Takyi will get her swimming moxie on in the 50m swimming freestyle event. These ladies will imprint their names in the history books of Ghana if they win a medal since no Ghanaian lady has achieved this feat yet.

“Unilez just loves water and decided to do swimming which has taken her to many places in the world including the Olympic games which she is very proud of…”

Sammy Heywood Okine writes on the official page of the Ghana Olympic Committee.

Unilez Yebowaah Takyi is an Italian-based Ghanaian swimmer who at the age of sixteen, has made major strides in professional swimming. She will represent Ghana together with Abeiku Jackson in the swimming events at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Mr Daniel Okyere will coach them both for the event. She qualified based on the Universality slots based on the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) points accumulated by the swimmers in 2021. Miss Unilaz Takyi is currently the National record holder of the of the 50m freestyle (27.49s) in Ghana. She beat the long standing eight years record set by Ophelia Swayne in 2013 where she used 28.1 seconds and finished 52nd in the World Championship at Barcelona. Unilez set this record during the CANA Africa Zone II swimming Championship hosted by Ghana in March 2020 where she placed 3rd in the event. Prior to this event, She also competed for Ghana in Tunisia during the 13th CANA Junior African Swimming Championships where she finished 13th with 29.15 and accumulated 1081 points.

Speaking in an exclusive interview at the training camp in Inawashiro, she disclosed her desire to inspire and spur up young Ghanaian athletes by making an impact at the Olympic games. To her she made it to the Olympic games based on hard work and passion.

Born and raised by her Ghanaian parents, Takyi Agyepong and Tchete Kodjo Rosine, in Italy, one might think she would opt to contest for the Italians. Her former trainer, Luca Grotti intervened and advised her to join the Ghana Swim team since she had a Ghanaian citizenship. She affirmed she has no regrets as the Ghana Swimming Association have provided her with the maximum support to nurture her talent. Currently, she trains under Givilano and Nicole who to her, are also inspirational. She schools at the Alessandra Manzoni Scientific School and aspires to be a mineralogist by studying Gold, Bauxite and others in the future.Speaking in an exclusive interview at the training camp in Inawashiro, she disclosed her desire to inspire and spur up young Ghanaian athletes by making an impact at the Olympic games. To her she made it to the Olympic games based on hard work and passion.

Born and raised by her Ghanaian parents, Takyi Agyepong and Tchete Kodjo Rosine, in Italy, one might think she would opt to contest for the Italians. Her former trainer, Luca Grotti intervened and advised her to join the Ghana Swim team since she had a Ghanaian citizenship. She affirmed she has no regrets as the Ghana Swimming Association have provided her with the maximum support to nurture her talent. Currently, she trains under Givilano and Nicole who to her, are also inspirational. She schools at the Alessandra Manzoni Scientific School and aspires to be a mineralogist by studying Gold, Bauxite and others in the future.

Being a girl in sports, she does have eyes for sports car brands like Lamborghini, and the fancy ones like Range Rover and Audi. She loves Italian foods and aside her innate swimming abilities, she loves to draw, dance and enjoys some good Bob Marley music. When it comes to idols, she hardly has one but enjoys watching Simone Manuel. Simone Manuel is a 24-year-old American swimmer who specializes in sprint freestyle swimming. She already has two gold medals as well two silver ones too.

Growing up, Unilez loved to be in water and that did the magic where she discovered her love and incredible abilities for swimming. She will be hoping to break records of her predecessor, Kaya Forson who competed in the 200m freestyle swimming category at the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil. Difference this time is she is competing in the 50m freestyle event. She, together with Abeiku will be coached by Mr. Daniel Opare Okyere who has expressed his enthusiasm and mission to make an improvement on Ghana’s results from Rio 2016.

She will compete alongside her African Compatriots; Girdad de Langland of Gabon, Muteti E from Kenya, Mateus A from Mozambique, Melhi A. from Algeria, Radji N. from Benin, Kaze O from Burundi, Milanesi NE, from Cameroon to mention a few.

She would hope to make Ghana proud by winning Ghana’s first medal in a swimming event with her colleague Abeiku Gyekye Jackson.

Esther Owusuaa Appiah-Fei.

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