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Jedidiah Amoako-Ackah has just nine months' cycling experience...

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."

Anyone who can help Amoako-Ackah out can contact through his Facebook page or website.

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.

15 comments

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SideBurn [890 posts] 1 year ago
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I would not want to ride against a headless cyclist.... scary stuff  31
Or did they just have to crop his head so that you can get those thighs in?

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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That bike looks mint in the Ghanian colours.

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pants [218 posts] 1 year ago
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I like his bike too, and the kit. Maybe the colours of the Ghanian flag looks good on everything.

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 1 year ago
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I'll watch out for him, I like rooting for the underdog (and hope he doesn't mind me referring to him as such).

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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Are Kenya sending any of their riders over for the Games?

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marcusjb [13 posts] 1 year ago
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I know many consider him to be a good-looking chap, but has Sir Chris really changed his name to Sir Chris Hot?

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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You're correct, that's an error, due to his link up with Nissan Sir Chris has been rebranded to Sir Chris Hot Hatchback.

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levermonkey [646 posts] 1 year ago
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If you were going to build a track sprinter from scratch, you know like 'Build a Bear'; I think that what you would end up with is young Master Jedidiah.

How good could this lad become with good coaching, good facilities and a couple of years experience? I think we are about to witness a new dawn in track cycling and a possible shift in power to West Africa.

I'll watch his progress with interest.

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 1 year ago
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If you are on twitter, look him up @IAMJEDDIE

Really friendly guy.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 1 year ago
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Good to see you have re-done the picture; so he is not headless  41
But the "Sir -Chis- Hoy Velodrome"  24 It must be the hot weather we are having

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 1 year ago
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levermonkey wrote:

If you were going to build a track sprinter from scratch, you know like 'Build a Bear'; I think that what you would end up with is young Master Jedidiah.

The force is strong with this one.

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SteppenHerring [323 posts] 1 year ago
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Good job it's not at Lee Valley - he wouldn't have time to get accreditation.

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djbambina [4 posts] 1 year ago
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sadly, you won't see anyone jumping in to offer him Mavic's. They are just too expensive to replace.

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J90 [289 posts] 1 year ago
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Surely there's a random business guy who could back him? Or lotto money?

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Ramuz [140 posts] 1 year ago
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Impressive physique. Check this guy out lazy people behind your wheel, this is the body you can get if you lift and cycle.  19