2021 has been a happy year for Benjamin Azamati – smashing one record after the other. He started the year, particularly on January 30, with a big win in the 60m indoor race (6.59s) where he set a personal best in the process.
Weeks later, he guided his school, the West Texas A&M University to their first Lone Star Conference Championship title at Lubbock, Texas. In that race, he set another record. He won the race on 6.61s – two seconds shy of his previous time at the start of the year. The win meant he would defend the 60m title he won a year earlier. A few hours later, the former University of Ghana student returned to the track to break the school and LSC record and set a Personal Best in the 200-meters out of Lane 6.
Originally a 100m sprinter, smashing his personal best and winning the 200m race was a shiny feather in his cap.
So on March 26, 2021, when he stepped on the track for an Olympic qualifier in the 100m race, all eyes were on him. He looked focused. His eyes well set on the finish line – where everything matters. After the gun went, he tore away from the other athletes and finished with a 9.97s win in superb fashion – obliterating a 22-year national record set by Leo Myles-Mills. Myles-Mills’ record stood at 9.98s.
In the grand scheme of things, the 23-year-old is now Ghana’s fastest man and now sits atop of the many greats to have run for the country years before. A list of ultimately talented runners that has names like the mercurial Aziz Zakari, Eric Nkansah, Emmanuel Tuffour and Ernest Obeng whose 10.21 record was set in 1980.
Azamati’s rise has been meteoric but it didn’t just start. It has been an arduous task from the start. A process of sleepless nights and cold training mornings. A journey that began in the plains of Akim Oda and has taken him to the University of Ghana where he read a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science, then to the African University Games in Cairo where he became the fastest University athlete on the continent and then to the African games in Rabat where together with Joseph Paul Amoah, Sean Safo Antwi and Martin Owusu Antwi won gold in the men’s 4×100 relay race.
The journey has just started for the young athlete. If he can keep his feet on the ground, Ghana will be back on the top stage in sprints again soon enough.
By: Yaw Ofosu Larbi