Iconic Ghanaian Women in Sports: The forgotten heroines of the past

Source The Ghana Report

Back in the days when the names of these women were mentioned, they were followed with cheers and the greatest of admiration.

The reason is that this exclusive club and a few others changed the narrative of sports, then a male-dominating activity, by making the best out of their participation in competitions.

We need not remind ourselves that after a series of unsuccessful attempts by the male senior football team to qualify for the World Cup, it was the female side that achieved the nation’s first representation at the world stage of the game when they qualified for the Women’s World Cup in 1999. The male team equalled that feat seven years later.

These women have blazed the trail of achievement as far as Ghana sports are concerned hence the need for TGR Sports to eulogize them for a great job done.

Theodosia Okoh

Many hear of her name and what comes to mind, the designer of Ghana’s iconic national flag, but there are more.

Madam Okoh was very active in the development of hockey in Ghana. She specialized in talent acquisition and was instrumental in the organization of games. No wonder she is acknowledged as the godmother of Ghanaian hockey.

She was the first chairperson of the Ghana Hockey Association and subsequently, the President of the Ghana Hockey Federation for more than two decades, supervising historic qualifications for the World Cup and Olympic Games.

Young Theodosia Salome Okoh


The great Ghana Director of Sports Ohene Djan is reported to have referred to Madam Okoh as the ‘Joan of Arc of Ghana Hockey’. Born Theodosia Salome Abena Kumea Asihene on June 13, 1922, in the Eastern Region, she lived a life worth celebrating and that was why the National Hockey Stadium located in Central Accra has been named in her honour.

she died aged 92 in 2015.

Alice Annum

Alice Annum was the first woman to represent Ghana at the Olympics, making three consecutive appearances at the Olympics in 1964 in Japan, 1968 in Mexico and 1972 in Germany.

Originally nicknamed ‘Baby Jet’ she was fast as the name, the name which was later inherited by former Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan who also had the pace on the field.

Alice Annum at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh where she won silver in the 100 metres final (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Arguably, she was the first real star among Ghanaian female athletes. She won gold medals in the Long Jump at the 1965 All Africa Games held in Congo Brazzaville as well as 100 and 200 meters races at the 1973 All Africa Games in Lagos, Nigeria.

She continued in her stride at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland where she picked a silver medal. In the 1974 edition hosted by the city of Christchurch in New Zealand, she settled for bronze.

The 74-year-old is worth celebrating for her achievements in sports.

Rose Hart

Born January 9, 1942, Rose was a track and field athlete who dominated hurdling, sprints and discus throw.

She represented Ghana at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and competed in the three disciplines attached to her name. She didn’t earn any medals at this event yet her presence at the sporting competition laid the foundation for black African women athletes in the post-colonial era.

Hart’s appearance and performance at the  Tokyo Olympics prepared her for continental dominance, evidenced by the two gold medals she won at the All-African Games in 1965 and 1973.

After her retirement from the game, she was engaged by the National Sports Council as a coach and sports administrator before her demise in 2012.

Rose Hart(circled) competed in the 80M Hurdles Semifinals at the 1964 Summer Olympics. (Photo credit: Neil Leifer /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Mercy Tagoe-Quarcoe

Mercy Tagoe is a retired footballer. In her prime, she played for Ghana’s national female football team, the Black Queens. Her first major tournament was the 1999 World Cup staged in the U.S.A, incidentally the maiden appearance by Ghana at the highest level.

Mercy Tagoe (Right) at the 1999 World Cup in the U.S.A [IMAGE-Getty Images]

Following her retirement from football, Tagoe did not abandon the game but went on to become an accomplished referee, assuming a pioneering role as one of Ghana’s first female FIFA Referees.

She made history as the first Ghanaian female referee to officiate at the World Cup [IMAGE-Getty Images]

She continued to flourish in sports when she ventured into coaching after acquiring a CAF License ‘A’ certificate.

She was the first female to become Head Coach of a Ghanaian club, Amidaus Professionals. In 2016 when she chalked up this feat, her club was in the elite football division. Perhaps, this appointment propelled her to the next assignment which was the interim coach job of the women’s national team. Stepping into the shoes of Didi Dramani was initially temporal but her contract was extended and she assumed full head coach in 2019.

She was recently relieved of her position with Black Queens but the 43-year-old is still in stable as the President of the Retired Women National Footballers’ Association of Ghana (RWONFAG).

Adjoa Bayor

Bayor is arguably Ghana’s greatest female footballer of all time. A stylish playmaker for the Black Queens, she was a member of the team that represented Ghana at its first World Cup in 1999.

Ghana’s Adjoa Bayor at the 2003 FIFA World Cup in USA (Photo credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)


Bayor’s impressive play earned her Africa Female Footballer of the Year award in 2003. Again, she was in contention for laurels in 2004, 2006 and 2010.

She played and excelled abroad, for Germany’s SS USV Jena and the USA’s FC Indiana, while also representing the Queens at the 1999, 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

She made 33 appearances for the Black Queens and scored 6 goals.

In her prime, she was considered one of the world’s top players and once played for a World All-Stars team against China in April 2007.

Margaret Simpson

Margaret Simpson, born on 31 December 1981 in Krapa is a Ghanaian heptathlete who reached the global podium for the first time at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, where she won a bronze medal for Ghana.

Simpson missed the 2006 season but returned the year after with a gold medal performance at the 2007 All-Africa Games.

The 41-year-old had an amazing career conquering the African continent in Heptathlon events with 11 medals for Ghana.

Veronica Bawuah

Bawuah was born on 5 December 1967  and was part of Ghanaian contingents which represented the country at the 1988 Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea.

She was part of the women’s 4 x 100 metres relay team that managed to qualify for the semi-finals but missed out on the finals after placing 6th in their heat.

Bawuah also represented the country at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney also as part of the 4 x 100 relay team.

The former national sprinter was also engaged in other athletic disciplines like 100, 200, and 400 metres.

She was honoured with a feature in the top 8 athletes at the 1988 commonwealth games held in Kuala Lumpur.

Cynthia Quartey

Cynthia Quartey is a Ghanaian former athlete who specialized in sprinting.

Born on 3 November 1965, she represented the country at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where she participated in the 4 x 100 metres relay.

Cynthia Quartey(middle) with fellow teammates, Mercy Addy(left) Credit: AFP/Getty Images


She was honoured with a feature in the top 8 athletes from the Continental Cup event in 1985, held in Australia.

Mercy Addy

Mercy Addy is a former 400 metres sprinter.

Born on the 7th of May 1964, she grew to become a household name in the country enjoying her runs in the 80s where she won a couple of medals for the nation.

Mercy won silver in 200 metres and bronze in 400 metres in the African Championship event in Morocco in 1984.

She was a dominating figure in the 400 metres and won two extra medals in that discipline, bronze medals at the 1987 All Africa Games in Kenya and the 1988 African Championships in Algeria.

Alberta Sackey

Alberta Sackey, Ghana (Photo by Jon Buckle/EMPICS via Getty Images)


Alberta Sackey born on November 6, 1972, is a former international footballer who played as a forward. She captained Ghana’s team at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Her beautiful strike against Australia in the 2003 World Cup was nominated on FIFA.com as the greatest goal in Women’s World Cup history.

She was adjudged the African Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2002.

Doris Frema Wiredu

Doris is a retired athlete who competed in 100 metres. She won a gold medal in the 1984 African Championships.

She returned the following year with yet another impressive display winning a silver each in 100 and 400 metres.

Doris competed for Ghana in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles as part of Ghana’s 4×100 metres relays women’s team, which finished 5th in its semi-final heat, missing out on the finals.

She was born on February 1 1964.

Martha Appiah

Martha Appiah is a former Ghanaian sprinter who was part of the women’s relay team.

Born on 19 December 1965, she represented the country at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where she participated in the 4 x 400 metres relay.

She also represented the nation at the IAAF World Championships, which took place in Stadio Olimpico, Rome.

She took part in the 4 x 100 metres relay discipline at the 1988 Olympics hosted by South Korea.

She was honoured with a feature in the top 8 athletes from the Continental Cup event in 1985, held in Australia.

Diana Yankey

Diana is a retired Ghanaian athlete who specialized in 100 metres hurdles.

She represented the nation at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics and the 1988 Summer Olympics.

She was twice the champion in athletics at the African Championships. She took silver medals at the 1987 All-Africa Games and the 1988 African Athletics Championships.

She was born on 2 February 1967.

Grace Ofori

She is a former Ghanaian sprinter whose specialty were 200 and 400 metres.

She emerged one of the top athletes in Ghana in the late 1980s when she was a student at Okess in Kumasi and represented Ghana at events held in Africa and the World at large.

After her education in Ghana, she joined the security forces in Ghana, as a member of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service and was part of their team that dominated the inter-security games held in the early 90s.

She competed in the 200 metres race at the IAAF World Junior Championship held in Sudbury, Canada in 1988.

At the continental level, Grace Ofori represented Ghana at all African games in 1987 and 1991 in Kenya and Egypt respectively.

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