Ghana ski centre bid launched by Olympic 'snow leopard'

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics
Image caption Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong says he will prove sceptics wrong by building the slope

An Olympic skier from Ghana has launched a bid to build a ski slope in the tropical West African country.

Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, who is nicknamed the Snow Leopard, is looking for sponsors for the new facility.

He plans to build the artificial slope on 13 acres of land in the country's hilly eastern region.

Mr Nkrumah-Acheampong is hoping the initiative will develop skiers for Ghana's national ski team, which will operate the slope.

He launched the bid for financial backing at an event in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, at which a model of the slope was on display.

Mr Nkrumah-Acheampong told the BBC's Network Africa programme that an "artificial carpet" would be attached to the ground, while a sprinkler system would be used to keep it lubricated. He said the materials would cost around $400,000 (£255,000).

Mr Nkrumah-Acheampong says Ghanaians under the age of 16 will be offered the opportunity to use the facility for free.

"The best of the best will be taken into the Ghana ski racing team," he said, adding: "We're building something for the future."

He said he also expected middle-class Ghanaians and expatriates living in Ghana to use the facility.

Mr Nkrumah-Acheampong was born in Scotland, but grew up in Accra and only learned to ski when he returned to study in Britain.

He got a job as a receptionist at a skiing centre in Milton Keynes, north of London, where he had free access to the artificial slope.

Despite his relatively late start at the sport he managed to meet the Olympic qualification requirements and represented Ghana at the Vancouver Winter Olympics earlier this year.

He finished 47th in the slalom event in February.

In response to sceptics who do not think the Ghana ski slope can be built, he said: "I think I've proven myself enough times now that when I say we're going to do X,Y,Z we deliver X,Y,Z."

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