Track & Field News of 2014-05-13

Home-based athletes dial up performance

Ghana Athletics: Home-based athletes dial up performance in response to foreign-based counterparts A number of Ghana-based athletes put out impressive performances, setting new personal bests and attaining Commonwealth and African Championships qualifying marks, as if to respond to the recent wave of sensational performances being put up by their foreign-based teammates. The response of the home-based athletes came on the 2nd stop of the GAA National Circuit Tour held at the Essipon Stadium in Sekondi-Takoradi on Saturday, 10th May. Many of the athletes including Solomon Afful, Vivian Mills, Isaac Nkansah, Martha Bissah, and Shawkia Iddrisu achieved PBs in their respective events, with some taking big jumps up the national rankings following their impressive displays over the weekend. Some athletes, like Solomon Afful, chalked their first qualifying marks for this summer’s Commonwealth Games and African Championship, while others (e.g., Martha Bissah and Vivian Mills) confirmed their qualifications. Sprinter Solomon Afful ran a PB of 10.41 secs to comfortably win the 100m final and equal the nation-leading mark earlier set by US-based (Kentucky) Emmanuel Dasor. Afful also ran away with a 21.51s win in the 200m. Similarly, 400m specialists John O’Brien jumped to number three in the men’s event after running a personal best of 47.46 in front of his hometown fans. Ashanti region’s Rashidatu Abubakar also clocked a PB of 14.75 to win the women’s 100m event. Aduman Senior High School student, Martha Bissah, flew away from the field right from the firing of the starting to gun to improve her qualifying personal best mark by 0.01 of a second in running 2.07.95s in the women’s 800m. Together with other high schoolers who acquitted themselves well here—including Anastacia Mensah (javelin), Felicia Frempong (jumps), and Janet Mensah (sprints)—she will be carrying the nation’s hopes at this month’s African Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana. Elsewhere, long jumper Isaac Nkansah capped his return to form by almost qualifying for the 2014 World Junior Championships with a leap of 7.50m; he is still 2 inches (5 cm) away from making a return trip to the Championships, which will be held in Oregon, USA in July. Nkansah told www.liquidsportsghana.com that there is more to come knowing very well his season best jump is still some way off his PB of 7.68m which he set in 2012. Talented sprinter Vivian Mills also set a new PB of 23.86 seconds in the 200m final, with second year Amass SHS student Janet Mensah coming in a surprising second in 24.51 seconds, ahead of two former national athletes. As well, Shawkia Iddrisu lowered her 400m mark to 55.45 secs and is closer to securing a place in the national team for upcoming international championships. The National Circuit Tour is an innovative competition being organised by the Ghana Athletics Association to ensure that all corners of the country experience national-caliber athletics competitions. The first edition of the competition was held at Wa in March. The next stop will be Koforidua at the beginning of June, with the finale in Accra at the end of the same month.