Ghana’s Martha Bissah became the first Ghanaian to win an Olympic gold medal at any level after running a massive personal best and a new junior national record of 2:04.90 to snatch victory in the 800m final at the ongoing Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China on Saturday.
17-year-old Bissah, who is the reigning national Sea and Shore National Circuit 800m Champion, kept pace with an early break-away group before out pacing her opponents with about 150 meters to end the race.
The former Aduman Senior High School student, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 African Youth Games in May, beat the African champion, Ethiopia’s Hawi Alemu Negeri to first place. Hawi came second in 2:06.01(PB) while Germany’s Mareen Kalis took third place in 2:06.03.
In the process, Bissah erased her own personal best of 2:06.32 which she ran at the just ended 19th African Athletics Championship where she exited the competition at the semi final stage.
An enchanted TV Commentator at the Youth Olympics commented about Martha’s achievement saying, "Martha Bissah the Ghanaian has given us a glimpse of a glorious future...without any shadow of the doubt... that was world class....if someone can tidy up that technique, she will be a force to be reckoned with when she becomes a senior."
Not only did Bissah win the race, she also broke the junior national 800m record in the process with her new personal best of 2:04.90 in China.
Early in the year, Martha showed signs of good things to come when she won a bronze medal in the 800m at the African Youth Games in May, before winning the maiden edition of the Sea and Shore National Circuit Championships in June, at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
As well as participating in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, she put up a spirited performance at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Marrakech, Morocco earlier this month where she lowered her personal best to 2:06.32.
She stands a good chance to join the 15 Ghanaian athletes who are already schooling in the Colleges in the USA on Ghana Athletics Association sourced student-academic scholarships.
Martha Bissah's long time coach and guardian, Corporal Isaac Nii Odartey Lamptey of the Ghana Police Service' Rapid Deployment Force in Kumasi, could not hide his joy at Martha’s success.
“I knew she was going to win in China,” he said. “But it was a great joy when I heard she had won and also being the only Ghanaian who has a medal, not just a medal but a Gold medal.
“Since 2006, my dream has been to produce a senior Olympic medal athlete and Martha Bissah is going to make my dream come true at the next Olympic Games in 2016.
“Among her training mates, she is more determined and focused, so I had the trust in her that one day she will make me proud. I have been her coach and her manager ever since I met her. I only pray that my dream will come true. I only thank God for bringing us this far.”
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