On this day 7 May 1994 (Exactly 25 years ago) Jesse James Leija became the WBC Super featherweight champion when he defeated future Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson by a twelve round unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, USA.
On this day 7 May 2005 (Exactly 14 years ago) The Sports Writers’ Association of Ghana (SWAG) honoured Ignatius Gaisah as the Sports Personality for the Year 2004 in Kumasi for his splendid performance in sporting arenas locally and internationally.
He was also designated athlete of the year and for his awards, he had trophies and certificates.
Margaret Simpson was honoured as the female athlete with the award of best football club going to Accra Hearts of Oak. Male footballer of the year went to Stephen Appiah while Memunatu Sulemana won the female footballer award.
Osmanu Yahaya received the professional boxer award with the chairman of the year award going to Mr Victory Ahiakpor of Heart of Lions
The table tennis award went to Nana Yaw Boateng while Henry Adjei-Darko took the tennis star award. Mr Atta Eddie Pappoe and Nicholas Djomoah jointly received the referee award while Vivian Mills received the discovery of the year award.
Millicent Boadi had the most promising star award, dedication and valour honours went to Yaw Serbeh while the award for female hockey star went to Olivia Lartey with Ebenezer Frimpong receiving the male hockey star award.
Other personalities who received special awards were Geroge Dasoberi, Alhaji Karim Grusah, Madam Habiba Atta, Peter Annan, Black Wonders and Ghana’s CAN 2008 Bid Committee. All the others also had trophies and certificates as their awards.
On this day 7 May 2006 (Exactly 13 years ago) Two-time African Champions Asante Kotoko of Ghana qualified for the group stage of the African Champions League for the first time.
Despite losing 1-0 away to USCAFOOT of Madagascar, Kotoko qualify 6-1 on aggregate thanks to their 6-0 first leg victory two weeks earlier .
The Kumasi-based club won the competition in 1970 and 1983 but had been unable to qualify for the group stages of the competition since its present format started in 1997.
“We fought very hard and deserve the qualification,” Kotoko coach E.K. Afranie said.
“Qualifying for the group stage of this competition means a lot to me personally and we will fight hard to go for the ultimate.”
On the same day Hearts knocked out Tunisia’s Etoile Sahel, runners-up in the previous two competitions, and joined compatriots Kotoko in the lucrative league phase of the competition.
Etoile Sahel, one goal down from the first leg against the 2000 winners, battled to level the aggregate score, netting only in the final minute through defender Sabeur Ben Frej to secure a 1-1 aggregate tie. But they were eliminated 5-4 on penalties by Hearts, whose goalkeeper Laud Quartey made three stops in the shootout.
On this day 7 May 2008 (Exactly 11 years ago) Heart of Lions Chairman, Victor Ahiakpor pulled out a pistol at the El-Wak Stadium when fighting broke out during his team’s game with Zaytuna.
The fully loaded pistol with serial number 75U31820, a CAL 7mlm65 make was impounded by three soldiers who arrived at the scene. After an initial struggle with the security men, Ahiakpor surrendered the weapon to the soldiers and drove away in his Range Rover Sport car.
The chairman was apparently infuriated by the assault visited on one of the team’s backroom staff by some fans of Zaytuna after fighting broke out among supporters during the game. Ahiakpor who had joined the game midway in the company of some “macho men” complained about the lack of security at the stadium where the visitors lost by a lone goal. After several verbal exchanges, the men of the Lions’ chairman tried to force open one of the rooms where the Zaytuna hooligans were being kept apparently to retaliate but were restrained by the security men.
It was after tempers had escalated that the chairman pulled out the weapon. The security men sent the loaded pistol to the Military Police Barracks to lodge a complaint. Soon after that, two police cars filled with personnel arrived at the venue, which had hosted the over 90 minute’s game without a single police personnel.
On this day 7 May 2003 (Exactly 16 years ago) Arsenal thrash Southampton, 6-1 at Highbury to start Gunners’ amazing English Premier League record 49-game unbeaten streak; ends 24 October, 2004 with 2-0 defeat at Manchester United
Arsenal’s Jermaine Pennant marked his Premiershjp debut with a hat-trick against humiliated FA Cup final opponents Southampton – but as a Cardiff dress rehearsal this Highbury encounter was a non-event.
Arsene Wenger’s side attempted to ease the disappointment of losing the title to Manchester United by taking a re-shuffled Southampton apart.
Pennant scored a hat-trick inside ten minutes in the first half, and Robert Pires was also on target three times as Arsenal strolled to an embarrassingly easy win.
Jo Tessem fired a meek reply for Southampton, but it was no form guide for the showpiece clash at The Millennium Stadium, such was the unfamiliar look of both line-up
Arsenal: Taylor, Toure, Luzhny (Tavlaridis 76), Stepanovs, Garry, Pennant (Hoyte 90), Parlour, van Bronckhorst, Pires (Bergkamp 62), Kanu, Henry. Subs Not Used: Wiltord, Warmuz.
Southampton: Jones, Telfer, Williams, Michael Svensson, Bridge, Fernandes (Baird 27), Prutton, Anders Svensson (Oakley 55), Higginbotham, Tessem, Kevin Davies (Beattie 76). Subs Not Used: Aaron Davies, Ormerod.
Booked: Anders Svensson.
Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).
On this day 7 May 1986 (Exactly 33 years ago) Steaua București of Romania defeated FC Barcelona of Spain in a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of play could not separate the two sides to win the 30th European Champion Clubs’ Cup (now Champions League) at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, Seville.
Barcelona had all of their spot-kicks saved by Steaua goalkeeper Helmuth Duckadam, who was later dubbed “The Hero of Seville”. It was the first European Cup final to finish goalless and remains Steaua’s only European Cup triumph, and the first of only two won by an Eastern European club.
On this 7 May 1951 (Exactly 68 years ago) The International Olympic Committee recognized the newly formed Soviet Olympic Committee (Russia) in the course of its session in Vienna, Austria, and invited the Soviet Union to participate in the upcoming 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.
The Soviet Olympic Committee was founded on April 21, 1951, bringing together 96 representatives from the all-Union sport associations, spokespersons of the Soviet Union based in the world sport agencies, as well as leading coaches, scientists, teachers, and public organizations.
The Committee was responsible for promoting the Olympic sports in the Soviet Union, sponsoring all of the preliminary activities, assembling the Olympic team, and handling all the relevant paperwork. Aside from the its compulsory duties, the Olympic Committee engaged in international relations, and reinforced the cooperation for peace and friendship of youth worldwide.
The opening of the Olympic Committee in the Soviet Union was followed by multiple widespread repercussions. The international sporting press recognized the foundation of the Soviet Olympic Committee as a progressive step. Soviet participation also boosted the international interest to the upcoming Olympics.
After the Soviet Union and a number of other socialist countries were accepted for participation, it gave rise to fierce debates about the possibility of peaceful cooperation of the contending political regimes in this sporting event, and whether the International Olympic Committee would have enough power to act as a mediator, accommodating teams from socialist, capitalist, and developing countries.
These fears had grounds, as since the 1950s, the International Olympic Committee had been busy managing conflicts and disputes of a political character with China, Korea, and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).
The 1952 Games were the first ones in history to unite the teams of the two antagonistic political systems. This confrontation lasted for 40 years, and included all of the leading Western and Eastern countries. The major competition unfolded between the USSR and the United States: sports had become another weapon in the Cold War. The chase after the medals was not only driven by the desire to score points, but had turned into a matter of the country’s political prestige. The athletes of both countries had to put up with a lot of pressure from the authorities. The fierce competition between the two superpowers led to a surge in the number of world records set at the Helsinki Olympics. In total, the Helsinki Games saw 66 records established, and 18 world records.
On June 10, 1952, before the American team was shipped off to Helsinki, the ‘New York Times’ came out with an appeal for the American Olympic team, encouraging them to teach the Soviets a lesson. It said that beating all of the 71 participating teams was desirable, however, it was the Soviet Union that had to be totally defeated.
The first appearance of the Soviet Olympic team did make an impression. In the track-and-field competition, the Soviets made it to second place in the overall standings, which was a real feat of strength, considering the American advantage in that area. For their part, the Soviet women placed first in track. The most sensational was the gymnastics: both the Soviet men and women repeatedly topped the pedestal. Regardless of the pressure and prejudice of the judges, the entire gymnastics team showed wonders in every competition. Gymnast Viktor Chukarin became the absolute Helsinki Olympics champion with his 4 gold and 2 silver medals.
In the unofficial team standings, the USSR and the United States scored an equal number of points – 494. The American team, however, received 40 gold medals, while the Soviet Union only won 22. The US had 19 silver and 17 bronze medals, while the USSR brought home 30 silvers and 19 bronzes.
STORY: GEORGE MAHAMAH