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Commonwealth Games: No joy for Ghana in athletics, weightlifting

BY: Daily Graphic

Ghana’s medal prospects in track and field events at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow diminished yesterday after the country’s athletes failed to progress beyond the preliminary round.

However, the para-sports hold brighter prospects after wheelchair athletes, Ajara Mohammed and Anita Fordjour, qualified for the final of the T54 class with impressive results.

Ajara placed an impressive eighth of the women’s 1500m wheelchair race (Round 1) with a personal best of 4:05.04 minutes, leaving compatriot Fordjour — a bronze medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi — in 10th position (4:21.24 mins). However, a third Ghanaian, Bernice Frimpong, failed to qualify after finishing in 11th position in a time of 4:21.58mins.

Both Ajara and Anita will line up in lanes three and five respectively against eight other crack athletes in this evening’s final at Hampden Park Stadium. 

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Ghanaian sprinters Solomon Afful, Emmanuel Dasor and Timothy Abeyie all failed to progress past the preliminary round of the men’s 200 metres race yesterday. 

Abeyie — who once competed for Great Britain and Wales internationally — finished in fourth place of his heats in a time of 21.12 seconds; Afful placed fourth in (Heats 5) in a time of 21.02 metres, while 18-year-old Dasor could only finish in third position of his heats. Only the top two finishers qualify automatically for the next round.

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There was no joy for Ghana in the women’s triple jump, which had Mathilde Boateng and 21-year-old Nadia Eke competing among a strong field in the final. Nadia, who qualified for the final by leaping to a new national record of 13.14 metres, finished in a disappointing 10th position with a jump of 12.98m. However, France-based Mathilde placed ninth with a jump of 13.00m in an event which saw Jamaican Kimberly Williams winning gold with a jump of 14.21 metres.

Ghana’s weightlifters went to Glasgow with high expectations but such hopes were dashed at the Clyde Auditorium yesterday, as promising Alberta Ampomah placed a disappointing 12th position in the Women’s +75kg Group A after lifting a total of 175kg in both Snatch and, Clean and Jerk.

Alberta, 19, a member of the Ghana Olympic Games team two years ago in London, was making her debut appearance at the Commonwealth Games.

Nigeria’s Maryam Usman won gold after lifting a total of 280kg, Ele Opeloge of Samoa picked silver and New Zealand's Tracey Lambrechs won bronze.

Nigeria's weightlifting team also won medals in other categories of the competition. Nkechi Opara lifted 162kg in the 48kg category to win bronze.