‘I used my own jersey for the competition’- Winnifred Ntumi, Ghana’s gold medalist

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‘I used my own jersey for the competition’- Winnifred Ntumi, Ghana’s gold medalist

Winnifred Ntumi’s triumphant performance at the 2023 African Games marks a significant milestone for Ghanaian sports. As the nation’s first gold medalist at the event, Ntumi’s journey to success is a story of perseverance, determination, and resilience in the face of adversity.

Born on January 22, 2007, in Bescano, Catalonia, Spain, Ntumi’s early years were shaped by her passion for weightlifting. Despite humble beginnings, she quickly rose through the ranks, catching the attention of talent scouts and earning a place in Barcelona’s esteemed La Masia academy in 2018.

Ntumi’s inclusion in Barcelona’s youth setup marked the beginning of a promising career. Her dedication and commitment to the sport propelled her forward, and she soon became one of the most promising young talents in the club’s ranks. Her impressive performances at the youth level caught the eye of Barcelona’s coaching staff, leading to her eventual promotion to the first team under the guidance of manager Xavi Hernandez.

In April 2023, Ntumi made her long-awaited debut for Barcelona’s first team, marking a significant milestone in her career. Her inclusion in the senior squad at such a young age was a testament to her talent and the trust placed in her by the coaching staff. Just three months later, Ntumi signed her first professional contract with Barcelona, signaling the club’s belief in her ability to succeed at the highest level.

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Despite her rapid rise to prominence, Ntumi’s journey to success was not without its challenges. In a recent interview with 3FM on the Sunrise show, she revealed the struggles she faced leading up to the 2023 African Games. Despite her impressive performance, which saw her clinch two silver medals in the 49kg snatch and Clean and Jerk events, Ntumi expressed disappointment with the equipment and support provided to her by the management team.

“I had to use my own jersey for this competition,” Ntumi lamented. “The items for this contest came in a day before, which is very bad. I was given size 40 boots for my weightlifting instead of a thirty-eight.”

Despite these setbacks, Ntumi’s focus and determination remained unwavering. She credited her mindset for her success, emphasizing her commitment to delivering a strong performance on the big stage.

“Well, my mind was only set up on making a good performance, which I did and through that, it made me get one gold and two silver,” Ntumi reflected. “I was more than excited. I was more than happy. I don’t know the kind of words to use to express this happiness.”

Ntumi’s journey to gold is not unfamiliar territory for the Ghanaian weightlifter. She previously made history as Ghana’s first medalist at the 2019 African Games in Morocco, and she has once again etched her name into the record books with her stellar performance at the 2023 edition.

Despite the pressure to deliver, Ntumi remained composed and focused on her goals. She acknowledged the weight of expectations but remained confident in her abilities to rise to the occasion.

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“Yes actually there was [pressure],” Ntumi admitted. “Since way back in camp, there was a lot of pressure but I just had to calm down and when the games started competing and others had no medals, I was like… so am I going to be the first Ghanaian to win a medal again in 2024? So I just stayed calm and focused on what I can do best, and God being so great, I was able to deliver for Ghana.”

Ntumi’s gold medal not only solidified her status as a rising star in Ghanaian sports but also contributed to the nation’s overall success at the Games. With Ghana sitting in 10th place on the medal table, Ntumi’s achievement serves as a source of inspiration for her colleagues and fellow athletes.

As the 2023 African Games progresses, Ntumi remains hopeful that her teammates will rise to the occasion and contribute to Ghana’s medal tally. With events still to be contested, there is ample opportunity for Ghanaian athletes to make their mark on the continental stage.

In conclusion, Winnifred Ntumi’s journey to gold at the 2023 African Games is a testament to her resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to excellence. Despite facing challenges and pressure, Ntumi remained focused on her goals and ultimately delivered a historic performance for Ghana. Her achievement serves as a source of inspiration for athletes across the nation and underscores the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity.

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