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Athletics: Azamati demands tougher challenge from rivals

Benjamin Kweku Azamati easily won the men’s 100 metres and the 200 metres titles at the 56th University of Ghana Inter Hall Athletics championship at the university’s stadium last Thursday.

His winning time of 10.61 seconds last Thursday beat the competition as the Mensah Sarbah Hall undergraduate maintained his dominance over the distance for the third year running, after which he called for stiffer competition from his rivals.

A member of Ghana’s 4×100 metres gold medal-winning quartet at this year’s African Games in Rabat, Azamati said he was not being pushed hard enough by his rivals to enable him to improve as he hoped for.

“This is my third year competing in this event and I have won all; winning it three times means there is no challenge for me. My teammates are improving but I don’t think they have attained the standard to give me a tough race. I need some form of competition because it helps you improve,” Azamati, 21, said.

The sprinter attributed his successes to his coach Elorm Amenakpor and “putting everything he tells me into practice is what has helped me over the years.”
Azamati is nonetheless grateful for the platform offered by the university to prove his worth and also catch national attention.

“I think the inter-hall championship too has helped me a lot because from here I got the opportunity to represent the university and the nation at various international championships and it all started from here so I am grateful to the organisers, the sports directorate and their sponsors,” he stated.

After excelling at the African Games and competing at the recent IAAF World Championship in Doha, Qatar, the young sprinter said he was looking forward to participating in the Olympic games even though his current performance did not meet the qualifying mark at the Olympics.

“Every athlete wants to be an Olympian so I am looking forward to becoming one and winning gold at that stage and if possible breaking the 100m record. It all boils down to hard work and consistency in training and being disciplined,” he added.

Another notable winner was African Games bronze medallist Grace Obour, who grabbed two gold medals last Thursday in the women’s 400m event and the 4×400m relay.

Grace, a first year student who was offered scholarship by the university to read Sports and Culture at the Department of Sports and Physical Education for the 2019/2020 Academic Year last month, proved too strong for her rivals as she finished the 400m race within 53.76 seconds before helping Mensah Sarbah Hall to victory in the relay.

The lanky 18-year-old athlete also qualified for the final of the women’s 100m event but was disqualified after a false start, making way for Volta Hall’s Comfort Esinam Tetteh to win the race.

After the victory, Comfort said he had wished to race against the national star to prove a point.
“I wanted to compete with Grace but unfortunately she was disqualified. She was my target. I wanted to compare my strength to hers and see my performance. Before the game, a lot of people tipped her as favourite so I wish I had competed with her to prove a point,” said Comfort, a Level 300 Political Science student.

“I am plump so people look at my stature and they think I cannot do anything that’s why they said Grace will win this event. I will surely meet her again in other competitions.”

Beatrice Owusua of Mensah Sarbah Hall won the women’s 5,000m event, Akuafo Hall’s Doreen Gagba won the women’s high jump, Millicent Njomaba of Jubilee Hall won the women’s discuss while Cecelia Oppong of Akuafo Hall emerged winner of the 400m hurdles.

The Commonwealth Hall was dominant at the competition with gold medals by Emmanuel Desu (long jump), Emmanuel Sarga (javelin), Raja Lagble (men’s 5,000m and 4×400m.)

By: Beatrice Laryea

Twitter: beatybeaty

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