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Ghana program could help water polo's diversity

Asante Prince, the founder of Ghana's Awatu Winton Water Polo Club, poses for a photograph at the University of Ghana during the Black Star polo competition in Accra   -  
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AP Photo


Back at the very beginning, right when a daring idea started swimming into reality, Asante Prince got out a couple of water polo balls and caps in a front of a handful of curious kids in Ghana.'

Prince decided to try a scrimmage, but he had no nets. So they put a soccer bench on each side of the pool.

That was one of the first moments for Black Star Polo, an aquatics program for boys and girls in Ghana, a true passion project for the energetic Prince, who went in search of a water polo that looked more like him and found so much more.

Egypt and South Africa are the only African countries that have played men's water polo at the Olympics. South Africa became the first women's team from the continent to make it to the Games when it finished 10th in Tokyo in 2021.

Beyond the relative absence of the sport in Africa, water polo has wrestled with a lack of diversity for decades. Even in its most popular areas, in California in the United States, and parts of southern Europe, there are very few minority players.

That's why Prince's effort in Ghana, which had about 80 boys and girls on hand when it opened its new season this month in Accra, has attracted attention in some prominent corners of the sport.

KAP7, a company that sells swimsuits and other water polo gear, has shipped over goals and other equipment. Former U.S. players Tony Azevedo and Genai Kerr also have donated equipment, and former USA Water Polo high-performance director John Abdou did a Zoom training session for referees.

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