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A golden jubilee: the Sports Writers Association of Ghana SWAG celebrates half a century

Kwabena Yeboah chairs SWAG and will run for reelection in 2019. (Photo by SWAG)
by Sammy Heywood Okine, AIPS Member

Accra, August 7, 2018 - The Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG), on Friday, August 3, 2018 celebrated its 50 years of existence as a professional body of sports journalists.

On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee, 50 years of existence in Ghana, the Association wished to salute all the founding fathers, patrons, members and well-wishers who have contributed to the development and promotion of SWAG.

The idea of forming an association exclusively for sports writers in Ghana was conceived in the middle of June 1968. Kingsley Obeng, the late Managing Director of Nogahill Hotel, Accra then a sportswriter with the Ghanaian Times, mooted the idea following a short visit to Britain where such a body existed. The idea was readily accepted and the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) was officially inaugurated at a colourful ceremony at the then Ambassador Hotel in Accra on August 3, 1968. The guest of honour was Mr. A. K. Deku, then Commissioner for Education, Sports and Cultural Affairs.

At its inaugural meeting, Mr. Kingsley Obeng, the originator of the idea, was made secretary, Mr. Joe Lartey of GBC became the president, with Mr. Ben Eghan Jnr., also of GBC, as his vice. Mr. J. K. Addo Twum, Sports Editor of the Daily Graphic, was made the treasurer. Other founding members were Mr Ken Bediako, the late Yaw Boakye Ofori-Atta, both then with the Daily Graphic, Willie Kwarteng, Joe Aggrey, Kwamina Longdon, then of Ghanaian Times, Vincent Mensah and Eugene Thompson, both of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), and H. O. Ampomah of GBC.

Sammy Heywood Okine, former Deputy General Secretary and shadow General Secretary of the Association as well as Research Director said: “If maturity begins at 50, then the stage is set for the Association to win laurels and accolades, we feel proud to be fully matured enough to contribute our quota to the development, promotion and transformation of sports in Ghana.

“We have over the years organized successful prestigious uninterrupted awards running for over 43 years and we are encouraged to organize it better as the years run because it is the premier awards of its kind in the country," he expressed.

The statement also said that SWAG has played a significant role in curbing violence at our various sports centers through our reportage, and we feel really excited to see sports fans go and watch events in peace for the love of sports. It added that SWAG has enjoyed government respect and support as a major stakeholder and we hope to keep on playing our watchdog role to ensure discipline, fair play and respect for all to avoid corruption and discrimination.

“On this special occasion, we want to support our international parent body, the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) in the fight against manipulation and defend our right of expression, because our freedom of thought and criticism can help sports to grow and with it, generations to come will develop.

“Ours is a professional and social commitment, though some of our working conditions may not be the best, we are the ones who must intervene to stem dangerous interference in the freedom of expression. We still talk the same language in sport and so we open up a chink.

Our commitment must be total and unitary, as reminded by the president of the AIPS, Gianni Merlo in his message to mark this year’s International Day of the Sports Journalist. SWAG therefore calls on all members to remain committed to the cause of the Association as we seek to promote sports journalism in the country."

The Association urged its members and other media people to get set for the digital era and train themselves to be abreast with modern trends of journalism, not to be left behind in this new age of social and other new media.

The SWAG will organize their next elections in 2019, and it is most likely the dynamic leader, Kwabena Yeboah will in office, after serving four years.

Other members of the current executive are Maurice Quansah - Vice President, William Ezah - General Secretary, Thomas Boakye Agyeman - Deputy General Secretary, Rosalind Amoh – Treasurer, Larry George Botchway and Charles Osei Asibey – Executive Members.

The Association also boasts of members who are leaders in their own rights and are members of various committees that see to the day to day activities of SWAG.

SWAG at 2018 boasts 132 are very active. The Executive is planning some activities to celebrate the GOLDEN JUBILEE, starting from Saturday August 4 with a Get Together and Special ID Numbers for all members.

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