Ghana is among nations with the highest number of students pursuing further education in the United States (US).
A total of 10,000 visa applications from Ghanaian students and sportsmen were received by the US Embassy in Accra this summer alone, making Ghana the 14th ranked country with students who travel to the US for studies.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Virgina Palmer, said in line with that, a unit had been set up at the embassy to facilitate the speedy processing of documents to clear the backlog.
“So, do not be discouraged to apply for visa for further studies or visa to pursue your sporting talent in the US,” she said.
The ambassador added that many Ghanaian students and sportsmen were excelling in their areas of endeavour in the US and so the embassy was ready to help genuine visa applicants to pursue their goals in that country.
Ms Palmer disclosed this at the maiden Volta Sports Investment and Awards Summit in Ho, Volta Region.
The Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) in charge of the Volta, Eastern and Oti regions, Dela Gadzanku, said the sports sector was crucial to development of the Volta Region which, he said, had a vast reservoir of talented young sportsmen and women.
He, therefore, said investment in sports in the region would be an appropriate business move with guaranteed returns.
The Director-General of the National Sports Authority, Prof. Peter Twumasi, also said that sports was no longer a recreational activity, but a tool for social and economic development for which reason it must be given the necessary attention.
In all, 15 retired sportsmen and women were honoured at the event.
Among them was a former football star, Obed Mensah Aguadze, who was in the Black Stars squad between the late 1960s and 1974.
Aguadze was part of the national team which reached the final of the 1970 African Cup of Nations tournament in Khartoum, Sudan, and lost by a goal to the hosts.
Prior to that tournament, he was part of the team which went on a training tour in Brazil from 1969 to 1970.Mensah Aguadze, as he is popularly known, played for Mighty Eagles and later Ho Volta United.
His soccer career took him to Brazil, Egypt and other countries.
A citation presented to him by the US Ambassador read in part: “With profound admiration, Volta Fair honours a remarkable sports personality who has become the epitome of sportsmanship and dedication.
“Your tireless pursuit of excellence, relentless training and unwavering commitment to sports has not only defined you as an athlete, but also as a true hero from the Volta Region.”
Also honoured were S. K. Hlodze, Charles Gomadonku and Vida Juliet Vivie.Former boxing hero, Prince Amartey, was also recognised posthumously.