Ghana's Benjamin Azamati (left) in action in the men's 100m heats yesterday
Ghana's Benjamin Azamati (left) in action in the men's 100m heats yesterday
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African Games: Azamati, Aggerh chase gold in 100m final

GHANA’s athletics poster boys, Benjamin Azamati and Barnabas Aggerh, are in position to aim for gold or a finish on the podium as they line up for the final of the 100m race to take place at the Legon Stadium this evening.

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Yesterday, though he did not exactly thrill the expectant fans with the speed he is known for, Azamati ensured he did the needful by qualifying for the final. Running the fifth heats in the morning, Azamati, ran a relaxed race as he won the heats in 10.54 secs. 

Later in the semi-finals, Ghana's men's 100m record-holder again did not push himself too much but ran fast enough to qualify for the final, finishing second with a time of 10.41 seconds behind the second semi-finals race winner, Cameroun’s Emmanuel Alobwede Eseme, who clocked 10.23 secs.

Agger on course

Before Azamati booked his place in today's final, Aggerh had picked the first final spot, after finishing the first semi-final race in second place with a time of 10.42 secs behind Nigeria’s Consider Ekanem who clocked 10.37secs.

It could have been three Ghanaians in the final, but Sarfo Ansah, who also run in the first semi-final race, failed to qualify as he finished fifth with a time of 10.53 seconds.

Having qualified for the final, Azamati, who holds the national record at 9.90 seconds, is promising the real showdown as he comes up against Eseme and Nigeria’s Usheoritse Itsekiri  in the final as they attempt to smash the 20-year-old Games record of 9.95 seconds which stands in the name of Deji Aliu, who set it in the 100m final at Abuja 2003.

“The most important thing was to qualify for the final. Hopefully, the final race will be something special,” he said moments after his race. 

It was, however, a disappointing opening day for Ghana’s women's sprinters who failed to advance to the final from their semi-final races. Benedicta Kwartemaa (11.92 secs) and Hor Halutie 911.74) both finished their races in fifth place, but their times were not good enough to secure them a final berth.

The Ghanaian female sprinters will now turn their attention to the 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay events.

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