French teenager tennis player Michael Kouame stirred controversy at the ongoing ITF Junior tournament in Accra when he slapped his opponent, Raphael Nii Ankrah, after losing to him.
The 15-year-old appeared to go in for the handshake before slapping Ankrah in the face, shocking those in attendance.
It is unclear why Kouame slapped Ankrah, although it is likely the teenager was frustrated at losing in the first round. The incident sparked an all-out brawl, with footage captured and posted on social media.
Tournament director Roger Crawford wrote a lengthy message on Facebook addressing the incident: “As many of you know, I am the Tournament Organizer and Tournament Director for the International Tennis Federation Junior World Tour Events in Accra, Ghana.
“This afternoon I witnessed the most barbaric incident on a tennis court. I don’t think I have the words to explain what happened. The video says it all. The perpetrator is a player from France and he assaulted a player from Ghana. My immediate response was to disqualify the perpetrator from the doubles event. I went further to recommend to the ITF to disqualify him entirely from next week’s event as well.
“Ghanaians are a very peace loving people. No wonder the kid from Ghana did not retaliate. As the tournament director, I called in the stadium security who held the perpetrator for some time. I met with the Ghanaian player and his team and they decided not to press charges.