In the latest of a long line of sporting firsts for the African nation, Ghana will field a track cyclist at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. Remarkably, Jedidiah Amoako-Ackah only took up cycling nine months ago.
The 23-year-old previously specialized in boxing and judo, but last September he met Ghana-born Glasgow businessman Sean Dyantyi who was leading a project to have a Ghanaian track cyclist race at the Games.
Amoako-Ackah arrived in the UK in 2001 with his parents whose careers had taken them to Botswana, then England and eventually to Glasgow. He knew nothing about track cycling when he met Dyantyi, who owns garbage removal company Junk Me.
"I didn't have any experience of track cycling so at the time it seemed an almost insane suggestion," Amoako-Ackah told Susan Swarbrick of The Herald.
Nevertheless, he decided to take a year off from university, where he’s studying sports therapy, to learn how to ride and race on a velodrome.
The Ghana Cycling Federation was supportive in theory, but with no experience in track cycling were unable to offer Amoako-Ackah much help.
"While they were glad I was doing it, they had to take a backseat role and weren't able to offer any financial assistance," he said. "Everything has been supported by local Glaswegian businesses."
His sponsors include Junk Me, Juice Warrior, Wheatley Group and Rig Bike Shop and after Amoako-Ackah coached himself for six months 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist David Daniell helped him draw up a training plan.
At about that time, Amoako-Ackah realised he was better suited to the sprint disciplines of track racing than the endurance events and switched his focus.
But Glasgow’s Sir Chis Hoy Velodrome is closed in preparation for the Games, so Amoako-Ackah has had to resort to training on the road and doing strength and conditioning sessions in the gym.
"I've been doing my sprint efforts on the road," he said. "You have to work hard and hope for the best."
And equipment is still a problem. "I appreciate all the support I've been given but there is still so much to do," he said. "I'd be grateful for anyone who can help out, especially with a decent set of wheels for my bike."
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.