This end of April weekend is typically a quiet one, highlighted by relay competitions.
Most college athletes spend the time running on their schools' relay teams.
So, for instance, at the Drake Relays Elizabeth Dadzie, unknown to us in Ghana as a runner, did only three events: she ran the 4x100m, the 4x400m, and then ended with another 400m leg on the 1600m distance medley (where the 4 athletes run 200m, 200m, 400m and 800m to total 1600m). So, our noted jumper/heptathlete ran two 400m races and a 100m, all as relays.
Similarly, at the Penn Relays, rather than run individual races, Emmanuel Dasor was asked to do duty on his school's 4x100m and 4x400m teams, and like Elizabeth also ended up running the same distances she ran: one 100m and two 400m races, as their 4x400m made it into the finals; he ran the fastest leg (46.5s) on his fifth place team.
Yet, despite the focus on relays, some of our athletes managed to return some incredible times, the most notable of which included top-class performances that we highlight below:
Janet Amponsah - Janet ran a personal best 11.29s in the 100m into a strong -1.3 m/s headwind. This legal time is an automatic qualifier for this year's World Championships. More notably it surpasses the 2016 Rio Olympic Games qualifying standard set by IAAF. It moves her to the no. 2 ranking in Africa (the fastest being 11.28s), and to no. 25 in the World ranking.
Janet came back the same afternoon with a personal best clocking of 23.04s in the 200m, as she continues to flirt with the Ghana national record. This time is the fastest time ran by a Ghanaian since September 16, 2006, and ranks her as Africa's current no. 1, and no. 28 in the world. The mark also automatically qualifies her for this summer's World Championships in Beijing, and is superior to the qualifying standard set for next year's Rio Olympic Games.
John Ampomah - John threw an immense 81.55m to obliterate his national record from earlier this year, by 5 meters and 5 centimeters. In Sergey Bubka fashion, this is his 8th national record since his discovery in 2012. The 80m mark in the javelin is one of distinction, akin to the 10.00s mark in the men's 100m and the 11.00s mark in the women's 100m. That mark puts him no. 2 in Africa (16 inches behind the Egyptian who won last year's World Cup), and no. 11 on this year's World ranking. John's mark is only 18 inches under the World Championship qualifying mark.
Jordan Yamoah - Jordan's recovery from last year's injury continues, and he is progressively scaling increasingly higher heights. This week, he moved up again, to 5.22m in Houston, Texas. Already qualified for the African Games, this mark moves him into the no. 3 position on the African ranking.
Other notable performances from this weekend include Nadia Eke's 13.39m jump and Atsu Nyamadi's personal best mark in the pole vault of 4.10m. Nadia is currently ranked no. 3 in Africa, and no. 26 in the world, while Atsu--in the decathlon--is ranked no. 1 in Africa and no. 24 in the world.
Other Ghanaian athletes currently on the world ranking are World Championships qualifier, Alex Amankwah (no. 6 in Africa behind 5 Kenyans and no. 10 in world in the 800m) and Flings Owusu-Agyapong (no. 5 in Africa and no. 50 in the world in the 100m).
Ghana Athletics currently has TWO athletes qualified for the World Championships and 11 qualified for the African Games.
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