Rowing is not a sport that is commonly associated with Ghana. In fact, for many people in Ghana, rowing may not even be a sport that they are familiar with. But for Jon Boafo, rowing has been a passion that has driven him to achieve great things. He is not only the first Ghanaian to row at an international level In this article, we will take a closer look at Jon's journey to becoming an international rower and explore the lessons that we can learn from his experiences.
Growing Up in a Diverse Environment
Jon Boafo was born in Ghana in 1985. His family moved to Kenya when he was just two years old and he lived there for five years before relocating to France where he spent most of his childhood. Jon's father was an international civil servant who worked for UNESCO, and his job took him to over 100 countries. Despite not coming from a family of athletes, Jon grew up playing sports with his father and his friends. He tried his hand at various sports, including horseback riding, boxing, taekwondo, judo, and football. It was not until his friend introduced him to rowing that he found his true passion.
Finding His Passion in Rowing
Jon's friend invited him to try rowing when he was in 7th grade. Initially, he found it challenging and was not very good at it. However, he persevered and worked hard, and over time, he saw improvement. He continued rowing throughout high school and university, and it was during this time that he began to take rowing more seriously. Jon's dedication and hard work paid off, and he soon found himself competing at an international level.
Perseverance: The Key to Success
When asked what sets successful rowers apart from those who do not succeed, Jon's answer is simple: perseverance. Rowing is a difficult sport, and it is easy to give up, especially when you are doing workouts alone and just want to row with your teammates. But Jon believes that it is the ability to persevere and keep working hard that separates the best rowers from the rest.
In 2013, during the Ghana Rowing and Canoeing Association's national championships, Mr. Boafo beat Umar Ahmed, Akanfela Musah and Yamin Asaase to become the national 2000 metre heavyweight single score championship. His win qualified him to participate in the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Sydney, Australia with the Ghanaian team. This was the first Ghanaian team to participate in an international rowing event.
Jon has enjoyed many such victories in his rowing career. But it has not always been smooth sailing.
Handling Setbacks and Disappointments
Despite his success, Jon has had his fair share of setbacks and disappointments. He has lost many races, and some of those losses have been particularly difficult to deal with. However, Jon believes that setbacks and disappointments are a natural part of any athlete's career, and it is how you handle those setbacks that defines you as an athlete. For Jon, setbacks and disappointments are a source of fuel that motivates him to train harder and strive for excellence.
Preparing Mentally for a Race
Mental preparation is essential for any athlete, and rowers are no exception. Jon's approach to mental preparation is simple: focus on the task at hand, one stroke at a time. Jon believes that the key to mental preparation is to trust in the work that you have put in leading up to the race. If you know that you have trained hard and prepared well, then you can approach the race with confidence and focus on the task at hand.
Impact of Rowing on Jon's Life
Rowing has had a significant impact on Jon's life, both on and off the water. Through rowing, he has met great people and traveled to different parts of the world. He has made some of his closest friends thanks to rowing, and the sport has taught him many valuable lessons that he has applied to other areas of his life. For Jon, rowing is more than just a sport; it is a way of life.
Advice For The Next Generation
As he reflects on his journey so far, Jon Boafo is determined to continue being an ambassador for rowing in Ghana and beyond. He understands the challenges that come with competing in a sport that is not as popular or well-funded as others, but he is determined to overcome these obstacles and continue pursuing his passion for rowing.
For anyone looking to follow in his footsteps, Jon's advice is simple: keep working hard and make noise about your sport. By being an ambassador for your sport and constantly showcasing its potential and benefits, you can raise awareness and perhaps even attract more support and funding.
As Jon continues to push to new heights the sports industry in Ghana, he serves as an inspiration to anyone who dreams of achieving success in a field that may not always be recognized or celebrated. He has since retired from professional rowing and now works as a sports marketing consultant. Through his perseverance, dedication, and hard work, Jon has proven that anything is possible if you are willing to put in the effort and stay committed to your goals.
Source: Kweku A. Boateng
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