Abdul-Rasheed Saminu
Abdul-Rasheed Saminu

Saminu vows to seize moment at Paris Olympics

The thrill of Olympic glory beckons Ghana’s Abdul-Rasheed Saminu as he gears up for the Paris 2024 Games. At just 22 years old, the sprinter from the University of South Florida is one of only two Ghanaians who have secured places in the individual events for the upcoming Summer Olympics.


Saminu’s journey to Paris began with a standout performance last month, where he clocked an impressive 20.12 seconds in the 200 metres at the NCAA Division 1 Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

The impressive time marked a personal best but also secured his qualification for the Paris Olympic Games, a personal achievement but also bringing hope and excitement to Ghanaian sports fans.
His story is one of hope, dedication and the pursuit of his Olympic dreams.

Reflecting on his achievement, Saminu shared his excitement and realistic expectations for the Olympic stage. “No, I’m not going to the Olympics with wild expectations. I’m thrilled to be among the athletes who made it and I’m going to enjoy and make the most of the moment.

"Don’t get me wrong, I’m going there to give my best and like every athlete, I hope to be successful but I’m not going ahead of myself here,” he told the Graphic Sports.

Saminu’s path to the Paris Olympics was paved by his sterling performance at this year’s NCAA Championships, where he clinched third place in the 200 metres with a time that qualified him for his maiden Olympic Games.

This result was a delightful surprise, especially considering that prior to his qualification, Ghana had only secured a spot in the men’s 4x100m relay for the Olympics.

As a proud "Nanumba boy," Saminu had hoped to also earn a ticket for the 100 metres, but he fell short by a mere two microseconds, clocking 10.02 seconds against the 10.00-second standard for qualification. Despite the disappointment, the sprinter expressed his satisfaction with the 200 meters slot and his determination to make the most of it.

“When I began the season, I realised achieving the entry standard was possible and thankfully, my coach helped me to achieve it. In athletics and in life, achieving one’s dream is possible. To the outside world, it’s just a matter of 20 or 25 seconds, but for us athletes, it’s months of training and hard work,” he said.

Preparing for the Big Stage
As the Paris Games approach, Saminu is intensifying his preparation. Recently, he anchored Ghana’s relay team to a gold medal at the African Athletics Championships in Douala. While he narrowly missed out on a medal in the 200 meters final, the University of South Florida athlete is using this experience as a stepping stone towards his Olympic ambitions.

“Being at the African Championships was an experience; part of the build-up to Paris so I will not allow the outcome of the 200m final race to dampen my spirit. It’s over and it’s behind me. Now, it’s time to focus on the Paris Games,” he stated.

Saminu is expected to move into full preparation in the coming week, aiming to bring his best performance to the global stage. “When I step out there in Paris, I will be going out to compete and not to make the numbers. Other Ghanaian athletes have done so in the past, and it is my turn to do so, and I’ll strive to do better,” he said.

Looking Ahead
With June 30 marking the deadline for World Athletics to officially confirm the list of athletes for the Olympics, Saminu will be joining Rose Amoanimaa Yeboah, who has also qualified for the women’s high jump, as part of Ghana’s team for Paris 2024.

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