Akwasi Frimpong only one representing Africa at BMW/IBSF 2021 Champs

Akwasi Frimpong overcame an injury to finish 32nd overall at the BMW IBSF world championships in Altenberg, Germany. Frimpong worked with Team-Russia leading into the tournament on one of the toughest tracks in the world that showed its strength against world-class athletes. His reward was a qualification to become the only African athlete representing the continent at this 2021 BMW International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Championships.

Frimpong initially did not plan to compete at the World Championships because it was not on his schedule and he only had 20 runs from the top of this track. That aside he also suffered a major crash on the Altenberg track a month back, which caused a badly sprained ankle and limited his ability to walk. Akwasi said it was Russian Skeleton coach, Dirk Matschenz, who challenged him to race at the World Championships for the experience as a sport skeleton athlete.

Akwasi at the BMW IBSF Altenberg World Championships 2021 / IBSF Viesturs Lacis

Frimpong made progress with each run during the World Championships qualifiers. In his first run, he was 32nd with a start time of 5.43 seconds and downtime of 60.75 seconds. In his second run, he finished 31st with a start time of 5.43 seconds and downtime of 60.42 seconds. The third time became a charm with the Ghanaian improving again when his third run secured a 5.41 seconds start time and his best downtime during the championships at 60.11 seconds.

Read also: Akwasi Frimpong competes as Africa’s first male skeleton athlete at 2018 Winter Olympics

Of course I didn’t want to come in last,” Frimpong said. “But with my current fitness condition, battling with injuries all season and with so little experience on the toughest track in the world, I gained an important experience going into the pre-Olympic season where I want to fight for a spot for Ghana and Africa for Beijing 2022,” he added.

The history-making Akwasi went on to acknowledge that “it’s not going to be easy since there is no continental spot for Africa and five fewer spots for the men than there were in 2018. There is a lot of room for improvement and still so much to learn before the Olympics. I’m truly grateful for the help and support of Team-Russia. They treat me like family and give me all the help I need to improve daily. The results never really tell the athlete’s entire story, but believe me, I’m putting in work and fighting for Africa on ice, giving people from my continent hope and breaking barriers.”

Frimpong will stay in Europe for another week to learn and race at the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation Inter-Continental Cup skeleton races in Innsbruck, Austria from where he will then head home to his family in the United States by way of Salt Lake City, in Utah. Frimpong and his wife Erica Frimpong are expecting their second child in April 2021.

Source: Team Frimpong

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