Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
In 2017 the Ghana Women in Sports Association, at an elaborate awards ceremony held at the Accra Sports Stadium, recognised the contribution of Ethel Jacks to sport in the country.
“I am so excited that my beloved nation, Ghana, will be hosting a major event in April; I can’t wait to see the future stars of the game. I hope and believe this will help the re-awakening of table tennis in Ghana.” Ethel Jacks
Already, the African Table Tennis Federation has confirmed that Ethel Jacks will be among the former stars who will be honoured during the April event in Ghana.
“I am so happy that Africa did not forget our efforts and at 76, I still play and people doubt my age because of the way I am still fit on table. I am eagerly looking forward to the event and I hope I can be there to motivate the present athletes to be patient enough to learn.” Ethel Jacks
Positive but also Ethel Jacks is a realist, aware of what is needed to promote sport and for young talents to develop.
“We need modern sports facilities, a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. It is sport that makes people healthy.” Ethel Jacks
Sadly, her husband, Ashalley Okine, a national hockey coach, passed away in 2017, shortly before she received the Ghana Women in Sports Association award. She admits to being lonely but the Ghana Women in Sports Association plaque, which hangs on her wall, is a major source of motivation.
Notably Ethel Jacks is one of three players to have won the women’s singles title at an African Championships, in addition to 1964, she prevailed in 1968 in Lagos and in 1974 in Alexandria; her record has only been equalled by Nigeria’s Bose Kaffo and Olufunke Oshonaike.
Bose Kaffo won in 1990 in Casablanca, in 1994 in Cairo, in 1998 in Port Louis; Olufunke Oshonaike succeeded in 1992 in Lagos, in 2002 in Bizerte and in 2016 in Agadir.
Also in 1964 and 1968, Ethel Jacks, partnered, the late Ernestina Akuetteh to women’s doubles gold at the African Championships.