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Former Ghanaian heptathlete, Margaret Simpson, sells cooking oil to survive

Former Ghanaian heptathlete, Margaret Simpson, sells cooking oil to surviveGhanaian heptathlete, Margaret Simpson, who won a bronze medal at the 2005 World Championships also set several personal bests in the process. Her personal best is 6423 points, achieved in Götzis in May 2005.

The 36-year-old former athlete is reportedly selling cooking oil to make ends meet. Margaret who claims the Ministry of Youth and Sports owes her some 5000 dollars in promised competition bonuses from the 2012 African Championships in Porto Novo now sells sunflower oil to survive.

Margaret Simpson became so hard up for cash that she resorted to selling cooking oil to support her family. She carried her wares on her head and went to town to sell them on daily basis. She sometimes she had to take money from her boss just to have enough to cater for her family.

Former Ghanaian heptathlete, Margaret Simpson, sells cooking oil to survive

Although she is married, her husband, she said, had done more than enough to support their family.

Margaret also complains of her sick mother who needs immediate attention but from her little sales from her sun flower oil business she cannot afford proper treatment for her mother. She wants government to pay her so she can take care of her sick mother.

According to her, the Sports Ministry promised to give her $5000 before the competition but after she won, they never paid up.

“My mother is really sick at the moment and she requires at least two visits to the hospital every week. I need that money so I can take care of her,” she reveals in an interview.In a career spanning almost 2 decades, Margaret has won countless laurels for Ghana, both locally and internationally and according to her the Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah, has ‘promised’ her to keep calm while he works on her arrears to be paid.

“I sent a letter to the sports ministry and even called the sports minister Isaac Asiamah. Although he said they were working on ways to pay my money, this conversation was a month ago and nothing has been done yet. I’m pleading with them to pay my money,” she adds.

Mrs Simpson, one of Ghana’s finest heptathlete was not the only athlete who was ‘chasing’ money owed her. She has denied a photo of a woman selling palm oil making rounds on social media as her.

Ghana’s forgotten heroine Margaret Simpson

Margaret Simpson in her earlier days placed fourth at the 1999 All-Africa Games. She was the junior champion at the 1999 African Junior Athletics Championships where she was selected for the heptathlon at the 2001 World Championships in Athletics and placed 13th overall.

Former Ghanaian heptathlete, Margaret Simpson, sells cooking oil to survive
Margaret Simpson of Ghana is seen (left) after the 800 metre discipline of the women’s heptathlon on August 21, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in the Sports Complex in Athens, Greece

She won a bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and then won the heptathlon gold medal at the 2002 African Championships in Athletics.


In 2004, Simpson, became African Champion for a second time and followed this result with a ninth place at the 2004 Athens Olympics. She reached the global podium for the first time at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, taking third place with the second best performance of her career. She also won a gold medal at the 2007 All-Africa Games.



In 2010, Margaret was back to good form at the African Championships in Athletics, where she won a third heptathlon title. She managed eighth in the high jump in the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup  as well. The 2011 edition of the Multistars meeting in Desenzano del Garda was one of her easiet wins with a score of 6270 points, defeating the 2010 champion Marina Goncharova.

Margaret Simpson was fourteenth at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics and won a third straight title at the 2011 All-Africa Games.She also won the African Combined Events Championships in both 2011 and 2012.

Former Ghanaian heptathlete, Margaret Simpson, sells cooking oil to survive
Ghana’s Margaret Simpson (L) competes with Czech Republic’s Katerina Cachova (C) and Sweden’s Jessica Samuelsson (R) in the 100 metres hurdles of the women’s heptathlon event at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Daegu on August 29, 2011. ANTONIN THUILLIER/AFP/Getty Images)

She withdrew from the heptathlon at the 2012 Summer Olympics due to a kidney infection.


A heptathlon is a track and field combined events contest made up of seven events. A competitor in a heptathlon is referred to as a heptathlete. There are two heptathlons – the women’s heptathlon and the men’s – composed of different events.

Earlier in August, Swapna Barman created history by becoming the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold, a feat she achieved despite a toothache. The 21-year-old was born with six toes on each foot.


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