Ghana's sprints quartet clocked the ninth fastest time in the world this year
A former national athletics star, Dr Andrew Owusu, is expecting big things for Ghana’s men’s sprints quartet which won gold in the men’s 4x100 metres at the just-ended African Games in Rabat.
He said the quartet had the potential to make it even bigger at the world stage than their predecessors who won gold in a similar fashion at the 2003 games in Abuja because they achieved their golden feat in the Moroccan capital last week without being at their peak.
Two-time African Games gold medallist and twice African champion in his prime, Dr Owusu believes Ghana’s winning time of 38.30 seconds –– which ranks ninth in the world this year –– was “remarkable” because the team did not have the opportunity of competing in Europe ahead of the games, and also missed the services of Emmanuel Yeboah, whose presence in the quartet could have made their victory more resounding.
“The performance of the men’s 4x100m relay team was remarkable because they weren't running at their peak; they actually peaked somewhere in early June and so they could have run a lot faster than they did.
“They ran 38.30 secs and what maybe a few people may be missing is the fact that we didn't have our second fastest runner, Emmanuel Yeboah, in the team because he did not make it to Morocco,” he told the Graphic Sports newspaper in reaction the performance of Ghanaian athletes at the continental competition.
Dr Owusu said he was even more excited at the performance of the male sprints quartet because, even though they replicated the feat achieved in 2003 [Ghana’s quartet of Christian Nsiah, Eric Nkansah, Aziz Zakari and Leo Myles-Mills ran 38.63 sec to win gold], the standards are higher today that was the case in their time.
“Standards are tougher for this group than we realise and that's the reason they need more help than we got.”
He said the best way to get the athletes to ran at their full potential was to get them to compete with the best around the world and also go into training camps ahead of major international competitions such as the African Games.
“If we can get formal training camps for them it's going to make a lot of difference.”
“The challenge for us is the transition after the US calendar ends and the major championships begin usually from late August into September, and so if an athlete in the US finishes his season in June and cannot get competitions late June to august they lost their competitive edge,” noted Dr Owusu, who is an associate professor at Middle Tennessee State University.
For Dr Owusu, Ghana could have achieved better results in Rabat if the team had the full complement of top Ghanaian athletes, some of whom could not make it to Rabat due to travel difficulties or injuries.
“We left behind four potential medallists, including Nadia Eke, who is recovering from a hamstring injury. She's jumped 14.33m and made the qualifying mark for the World Championship and Olympic Games.
“The winning jump in Morocco was 13.75 metres so Nadia [African triple jump champion and bronze medallist at the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville] could easily have won a medal, if not gold.
“John Ampomah in the javelin could easily have won a medal, Atsu Nyamadi could also have scored in the decathlon, just as for Elizabeth Dadzie in the heptathlon,” he lamented.
Dan Soko is a short story author and web content editor. He has work appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including GhanaScoop, Nigeria Daily News and CapitalBay. When he’s not frightening strangers with his post and writing, he’s most likely frightening his wife Mimi and their two mischievous cats: Buttons and Snaps. You can visit him at www.ghananation.com/author/webby.