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Ghanaian athletes top NAIA and JUCO Champs

posted 23 Apr, 15 • Category: News • Comments: 0
Ghanaian athletes based in the USA have responded with some unbelievable displays at the just ended National Junior College Indoor Championships (JUCO), the NAIA Championship and the IC4A/ECAC Championships in the USA.

Ghanaian athletes based in the USA have responded with some unbelievable displays at the just ended National Junior College Indoor Championships (JUCO), the NAIA Championship and the IC4A/ECAC Championships in the USA.



Just a week after what has been hailed as a successful Ashanti Region Super Zonal Championship (Super-Zo) at the Baba Yara stadium in Kumasi, Ghanaian athletes based in the USA have responded with some unbelievable displays at the just ended National Junior College Indoor Championships (JUCO), the NAIA Championship and the IC4A/ECAC Championships in the USA.

It is important to place into context that the “JUCO” championship in particular has served as the spring board for several athletes including Olympic medalists Tyson Gay, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Darvis “Doc” Patton. It is also most notable that Gay and Campbell-Brown both attended Barton County Community College.

Guess what? At the JUCO competition last week, Barton County College student Lydia Mato won an unbelievable four gold medals; Janet Amponsah, a student of the Western Texas College, set a new Ghana national indoor record in winning the 200m race, Samson Azumah also impressed with a silver medal in the men’s 1000m race, while Daniel Gyasi of Western Texas College produced a lifetime best performance to win a bronze medal in the 400m. At the same competition, recent departures, Abubakar Mohammed and Solomon Afful, who left Ghana just two months prior to the championships, placed 5th and 7th respectively, at their first JUCO National Championship.

Elsewhere, at the NAIA National Championship, African heptathlon silver medalist Elizabeth Dadzie (formerly of Iowa Central Junior College) helped her new university, Oklahoma Baptist University, to a national championship title. Ironically, in each of the last three national championships she has been involved in (two indoor and one outdoor), Dadzie—affectionately dubbed the Chosen One—has won two gold medals and a silver, been voted best athlete of the competition, and led the team to the national title. This year, her victories were in the long and triple jumps, while she took a silver in the hurdles; her hurdles and triple jump marks were both personal bests.

US JUCO National Championship: Janet Amponsah wins Gold medal in 200m destroying the national record by running 23.40s.

For the second time this year, sprint sensation Janet Amponsah broke the national 200m indoor record with a stellar 23.40 performance at the US JUCO National Championships, obliterating her own previous mark of 23.67 set at the University of New Mexico Collegiate Classic on 7 February.

In doing so, Amponsah won a gold medal for Western Texas College to successfully defend the 200m crown she won last year at the same competition.

The former Kumasi High Secondary School student has had an impressive indoor season after being named NJCAA National Athlete of the week two weeks in a row. She has set four national records in the season so far, having also broken the record in the 55m dash twice, most recently with a remarkable 6.93s clocking, which still stands as the 9th fastest time in the world this year.

Lydia Ataa Afia Mato – 4 Gold medals in the 5000m, 3000m, 1000m, and 1 mile (with personal bests in the latter 2 races)

Lydia Mato captured the headlines at the US JUCO Championships after coming through with an unbelievable four Gold medals.

The Barton County phenomenon won gold in the women’s 5000m, 3000m, 1000m and the 1mile within a two-day period.

In a very tactical race, Mato secured victory in the 5000m in a comfortable 17:52 for a 21-second victory over the Kenyan silver medalist. She went on to win the 1000m, and then returned to take another solid victory in the women’s 3000 with a win in 10:10 and rounded up the competition with victory in the one mile race.

Sampson Azumah Laari – Silver medal in the men’s 1000m race and 4th place in the mile (with personal bests in both races).

Sampson Azumah won a silver medal in the 1000m race as well as 4th place in the one mile, posting personal best in both races.

He put up a spirited performance to capture 4th place in the 1 mile event.

Daniel Gyasi – Bronze medal in the men’s 400m (in a personal best)
African 4x100m medalist Daniel Gyasi won his first individual medal at the JUCO after grabbing a bronze medal in the 400m event in a personal best 47.31.

In his first appearance at the JUCO last year, Gyasi led off his Western Texas College team to a national championship in the 4x400m, when they put down a 3.04.99s time to pip the South Plains College.
Mohammed Abubakar and Solomon Afful – 5th and 7th place in the long jump and 200m, respectively (and both in personal bests)

JUCO debutants Solomon Afful and Mohammed Abubakar continued their steady improvement with personal best finishes in the 200m and long jump events.

Afful, an African 4x100m relay silver medalist, clinched 7th place after having earlier ran a personal best of 21.51s in the heats, in his first major competition for Cloud County College since joining in January.

Butler County College’s Mohammed Abubakar produced a personal best 7.34m to place 5th overall in the men’s long jump.
US NAIA National Championship

African heptathlon silver medalist Elizabeth Dadzie won an amazing third national championship in a row after helping Oklahoma Baptist University to win the overall team title at the NAIA National Championships on Friday, 6th March.

Affectionately dubbed “the Chosen one,” Dadzie grabbed two gold medals in the long jump (5.82m) and triple jump(12.40mPB), and a silver medal in the 60m hurdles (8.47’s PB),

She has thus led two different schools to the overall team title three times, and scored 28 points to be crowned best athlete each of those times; she helped Iowa Central College to two national championships (indoors and outdoors) in 2014, before moving on to Oklahoma Baptist University.

IC4A/ECAC Championship

Columbia University first year student, Akua Obeng-Akrofi clinched a bronze medal in the IC4A/ECAC Championship after running a personal best 24.05s in the heats and 24.06s in the finals.

The youngster stole the spotlight in the second week of the GAA’s indoor rankings after running a personal best, to move into second place on the Ghanaian ranking behind Janet Amponsah in early February.


Summary

Many of the athletes are expected to replicate their indoor season performances when the outdoors starts in about a week time. The horizon certainly looks good for the Ghanaian athletes who made the nation proud last year, equaling the nation’s highest medal haul at the African Athletics Championships.

Janet Amponsah and co will be hoping to meet the GAA’s strict qualification standards for the All Africa Games and World Championships which were released in early January.

Source: Ghana Athletics Association (GAA)

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The rlg Ghana Grand Prix

The rlg Ghana Grand Prix is an International track and field athletes that was first held in Kumasi on 6th July, 2011.

The rlg Ghana Grand Prix is an International track and field athletics meet that was first held in Kumasi on 6th July, 2011.The event brings together over 45 foreign athletes and 60 locally based Ghanaian athletes in a four-hour international athletics competition. Nichole Denby (100m hurdles), Alie Israel (100m/200m), Shericka Mozell (100m/100m hurdles), Jarod Tobler (Long Jump), Terrell Wilks (100m/200m), who are all from the USA, took part in the first edition of the competition.

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