Benjamin Azamati, photo courtesy of African Post Online
This week, Deji Ogeyingbo wrote this feature on Benjamin Azamati, a Ghanan sprinter who runs for West Texas. I think that you will enjoy the piece!
Benjamin Azamati rising gradually to the top of African sprinting after his latest exploits in Austin
Very few athletics enthusiasts would have heard the name Benjamin Azamati in the sprinting world. Rightly so, because he seems to be taking each race as a learning curve, while also popping up with some outstanding times that take the world by storm.
Austin is one such venue where he seems to already have a knack for producing astonishing times. For the second year in a row, Azamati scorched the Austin track over 100m while competing for West Texas A & M. This time, it wasn’t just an NCAA Division II record: Azamati’s wind-legal 9.90 equaled the fourth-fastest mark in collegiate history, regardless of division.
Benjamin Azamati, photo courtesy of gobuffs.com (photo by Trevor Fleeman)
Exactly one year ago, Azamati went 9.97 (+1.5) at the same meet to demolish a 38-year-old NCAA DII record formerly held by Darrell Green. Before the season was over, Azamati added four more marks superior to Green’s best of 10.08 and owned the five fastest marks in NCAA DII history.
The time ensured that he matched Trayvon Bromell at 9.90 and only trails 2017 Bowerman winner Christian Coleman (9.82), 2019 Bowerman finalist Divine Oduduru (9.86), and 2011 Bowerman winner Ngoni Makusha (9.89) on the all-time chart.
All these performances didn’t just come out of the blue. The writings were on the wall, considering his meteoric rise from his days at Presbyterian boys’ secondary school to the University of Ghana where he partook in the African University Games in Cairo to become the fastest University athlete on the continent.
Also, at the African games in Rabat he alongside Joseph Paul Amoah, Sean Safo Antwi, and Martin Owusu Antwi won gold in the men’s 4×100 relay race.
Last year in the 100m, he ran the five-fastest times in NCAA DII history highlighted by his 9.97 at the Texas Relays, which was the fastest time in the world at the time and the fastest anyone had run in Ghana. He broke the record of Leo Myles Miles (9.98s) which had stood for 22 years and went undefeated in the NCAA DII event.
He capped off his 2021 season at the Tokyo Olympics when he couldn’t’ make it past the heats, but he put up a decent show with a 10.13s, while also coming off with valuable experience. Perhaps, the highlight of the games was when he combined with Amoah, Safo Antwi, and Emmanuel Yeboah to break the men’s 4x100m National Record by clocking 38.08.
This year, Azamati’s indoor season has also been nothing short of outstanding. In late February, the 24-year-Old clocked a time of 20.57s at the Lone star championship in Lubbock to equal his Ghana’s 200m Indoor record. It also meant that he clocked the second-fastest 200m time in Division II history and he’s now the nation’s leader in both events.
At the same meet in Lubbock, the sprinter broke the all-time meet record in the 60m with the second-fastest time in NCAA Division II history, running 6.55. Azamati had earlier run 6.55, a new Personal Best of 6.54 in early February.
Awards have also followed his exploits on the track as Azamati was named the Lone Star Conference Male Track Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season following his performance at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships this month.
He became the first student-athlete since 2017 to earn the award in consecutive seasons. The sophomore from Akim Oda, Ghana, tallied 18 points at the 2022 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships, winning the 60m (6.63) for the second time while finishing runner-up in the 200 (21.32).
His latest showing in Austin has catapulted him to be the seventh fastest man in Africa. It’s a modest place to be at this point, considering the current fastest man in Africa, Ferdinand Omanyala was still running 10.00s this time last year.
Now, after his latest showing in Austin, Azamati is one of the fastest athletes in collegiate history. By the end of the year, we might as well be talking more about him.
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