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GAA Update: June 1st

posted 2 Jun, 16 • Category: News • Comments: 0

These last two of weeks of May began innocently for Ghana Athletics with Sean Safo-Antwi's 10.18s 100m performance in Hengelo, Holland on May 22nd. Exactly a week later in Forbach, France, Vivian Mills dialed in a new personal best performance in the 400m of 52.78s.
Across the Atlantic, the American college/university season was reaching its pinnacle with the NCAA Division One East and West Regional Championships, the NCAA Division II Championships, and the Junior College National Championships, all on tap. In the East Regional Championship in Florida, record-breaking machine Sampson Azumah Laari registered his 5th personal national record of the year (Ghana's 23rd record of the year and our 8th of the outdoor season) with a breathtaking run of 3.43.34 minutes in the 1500m; he came back the next day to run a personal best time of 1.47.15m in the 800m to join colleagues John Ampomah, Elizabeth Dadzie, and Atsu Nyamadi as qualifiers for the June 9-11th NCAA Division One National Championship.
Sadly, the East Regional also saw Emmanuel Dasor's individual NCAA season come to an end when he strained a hamstring in the 400m heats. He joins Olympic-qualified 800m runner Alex Amankwah (ankle) on the injury list, thereby putting a serious dent in Ghana's hopes of challenging for a medal in the 4x400m relay at the Durban African Championships in three weeks.
Very notable performances that still unfortunately fell shy of qualification for the impending NCAA Division One Championships include Akua Obeng-Akrofi's 53.14s 400m personal best and Agnes Abu's second-fastest ever 800m run of 2.05.34m. In Memphis, Tennessee, Bless Dupeh laid down her contention for a Durban African Championship slot by running a personal best time of 53.94s in the 400m, bringing to four the number of Ghanaian women under 54 seconds this year. Janet Amponsah also signaled that she is rounding into form at just the right time, in registering a season's best performance of 23.55s in the 200m in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ghana Athletics was also well-represented at the NCAA Division Two National Championships, led by African Games silver medalist Jordan Yamoah's dominating victory in the pole vault in his final college appearance, clearing 5.38m on his first attempt. Michael Bruce also ended his collegiate career with a third-place finish in the triple jump with a personal best mark of 15.98m. Daniel Gyasi ended the collegiate season with a 4th place finish, after a personal best time of 46.09s in the heats. And at the National Junior College Championships, Mohammed Abubakar placed second in the Long jump with a mark of 7.69m, following a 5th place finish in the triple jump the previous day.
On the home front, despite the lull in activity before the final two competition of the season (on June 4th and 11th), the five athletes who had been training in Colombia for the last few weeks produced some respectable performances in the competition they had just before returning to Ghana. By far the most outstanding of these was Mary Zutah's lifetime best throw of 54.40m, an A-standard qualifier for the African Championship. Qualifying opportunities for the sprinters were undermined by the use of hand- instead of electronic-timing, but their performances clearly still set up a wonderful next 10 days, with the final National Open Championship in Cape Coast on 4th June, followed a week later (June 11th) by the the Grand Finale of the National Circuit Championships, where the 8 best athletes over the season in each event will vie for the national titles in the respective events. A special treat will come in the way of the opportunity to see the women's 4x100m teams from Togo, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast extend their fraternity to Ghana by gracing the occasion of GAA's first National Circuit competition in Cape Coast's brand new stadium.
Meanwhile, do continue to follow Ghana Athletics via our Facebook page, where you can also watch some of the athletes' outstanding performances, and send them missives of encouragement.

Source: Ghana Athletics Association (GAA)

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