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Paralympian Hopes to Lift Gold for Ghana

  • Sonny Young

The Paralympic Games will be staged in London less than three weeks after the 2012 Summer Olympics end.

Charles Teye is a disabled Ghanaian powerlifter who is headed to London in late August to show off his skills and try to win a medal.

Teye has great hopes of winning a medal in the bench press in the 67.5 kilogram weight class. He says he was just an infant when he lost both his legs because of an infection.

"In the twinkle of an eye they realized that the whole legs had become black and spotted. And so they quickly rushed me to the hospital. I was here for three days and then the legs started flowing water. It looked like when you pour hot oil on you, you know it swells and it starts flowing water. And so, in like two to three weeks they realized the legs were coming off," Teye recalled.

Charles credits a radio broadcast with helping to develop his interest in powerlifting. He says he heard an announcement about sports opportunities for disabled athletes.

"So when I go to the sports stadium, we were interviewed and they asked me what I could do, and I said I play table tennis. And then they said, 'You have a very good physique. Your shoulders are broad. You should do a sport called powerlifting. Why don't you?' I said, 'What is powerlifting?' And then they took me through the process and I said, 'Oh, I do bench press at the back of a friend's yard in their home,' and I said 'I can do it,'" Teye added.

Teye also credits the Right To Dream charity with helping to improve his training through sponsorship, better diet and professional coaching. He won a gold medal earlier this year at a competition in Wales and qualified for the Paralympics, which begin August 29. Teye says he hopes the Paralympics will raise awareness about sports for the disabled.

"Ghana will be proud because mostly they give small attention to disabled sports. I don't even know if some of the able-bodied have ever qualified. The Ghana flag will definitely be raised," Teye said.

Powerlifter Charles Teye will be waving Ghana's flag high at the Paralympics in London.