Beijing, China- Due to difficulties getting a Chinese visa for Alex Amankwah and Janet Amponsah, they will not participate in the upcoming World Championships in Beijing, China.
Amponsah and Amankwah, both new national record holders, sent their visa applications to the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. Their applications were sent off after receiving an official invitation letter from the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) on August 5.
Approximately two weeks later, their passports were returned by the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC indicating their visa applications had been denied.
Because the Ghana Athletics Association President was already in China for the IAAF Quadrennial Congress, he managed to get the LOC, working with Chinese immigration and IAAF, to issue a visa-upon-arrival letter.
However, United Airlines declined to let them board their flight to China using the visa-on-arrival document.
Ranked 87th in the IAAFs 100m ranking
Ranked 85th in the IAAFs 200m ranking
Personal best: 100m 11.29 (PB) & 200m 23.04(PB)
Ghanaian sprint Queen Janet Amponsah has been in a form of her life this season ahead of her second appearance at the IAAF World Championships, in Beijing.
Amponsah, 22, last competed at the World Championships in Russia, exiting in the first round of the 200m.
A lot has changed ever since with Amponsah moving to the USA on a Ghana Athletics Association sourced student-athlete scholarship.
A student at the Western Texas University, Amponsah has been in impressive form this season recording personal best performances of 11.29 secs and 23.04 secs to qualify for the 100m and 200m respectively at the IAAF World Championships.
The former Kumasi High School student has been in outstanding form in the NJCAA with top finishes in the 100m and 200m between 2014 and 2015.
She has been one of the brightest spots for Ghana athletics for the past few years.
It was not only Amponsah’s qualification to the World Championships that captured the headlines, but also the manner of her qualification was quite remarkable.
After recording some impressive performances in the early weeks of the season, most of which were deemed illegal due to the brisk following wind, Janet returned with aplomb running back to back qualification times for the IAAF World Championships at the West Texas A&M Twilight event on 25th April, 2015.
The Western Texas College student recorded her 100m time (11.29s PB) running into a strong -1.3 m/s headwind. Janet came back the same afternoon with a personal best clocking of 23.04s in the 200m, as she recorded the fastest time ran by a Ghanaian since September 16, 2006.
The mark was also superior to the qualifying standard set for next year’s Rio Olympic Games.
Following her heroics, she was given the NJCAA Athlete of the Week award 4 times. The National Athlete of the Week is an award presented by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
She anchored the women’s 4x100m relay team to clinch silver medal in nerve racking race at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, coupled with silver and bronze medals in the 4 x 100 m relay at 2012 and 2014 African Championships respectively.
Apart from the Olympic Games, Amponsah has a wealth of experience having represented Ghana at all levels of sports including but not restricted to the IAAF World Junior Championships(2), African Championships(3), Commonwealth Games(2) and the All Africa Games.
2014 CAA African Championships 4x100m relay Bronze Medalist
2012 CAA African Championships 6th in 100m Final
2010 Commonwealth Games 4x100m relay Silver Medalist
Alex Amankwah, World Ranking: 69th
Personal best: 1:45.91, Achievement: National 800m indoor record holder
The IAAF World Championships is upon us again!
The event features the biggest global athletics super stars from 22nd August to 30th August, at the Birds Nest stadium in Beijing, China.
As part of its efforts to bring the best coverage of the Championships to Ghanaians, the Ghana Athletics Association has struck a partnership with Ethiopian Airlines.
The partnership brings together Africa’s largest Airline with the youngest fleet of aircrafts and one of the fastest growing National Sports Federation in Ghana.
The agreement, which is consistent with Ethiopian Airlines’ agenda of creating a “New Spirit of Africa,” will enable the GAA produce professional reportage of the biggest athletics competition in the world to an African audience and specifically to Ghana.
Today, we profile Ghanaian 800m runner Alex Amankwah, 23, who is set to represent Ghana for the first time in his career.
How he qualified:
“Alex Amankwah Qualifies for World Championships in 800m with 1:45.91mins Clocking!!,” read the screaming headline on 3rd April, 2015.
Alex’s personal best (1:45.91) was superior to the IAAF’s 800m qualifying time of 1:46.00 minute. He thus earned the opportunity to make his much awaited debut in the red, gold, green and black at Beijing 2015.
His achievement was made the more remarkable because it has been ages since Ghana qualified someone as young as 23 years old for the prestigious Championships.
In April, 2015, the Alabama University junior, 23, won the Gainesville Florida Relays 800m final in a personal best 1 minute: 45.91 seconds to qualify for the World Championships, Beijing 2015.
Amankwah, running in the first section of the final, ran the fastest 800 by an Alabama runner since 2011.
The Ghanaian born athlete won by a whole second ahead of Ryan Schnulle 1:46.89 while Brannon Kidder took third place in 1:47.14.
And to prove his personal best was no fluke, he repeated his performance at the Louisiana State Invitational, Bernie Moore Track Stadium on 2nd May where he run 1:45.91mins again.
Life time achievement:
The Alabama based athlete served notice of his intent this season when he ran 1.46.86 (NR) to set a new national indoor record and a world indoor lead on 24 January.
After breaking Kennedy Osei’s national 800m indoor record, his first 2015 outdoor race put him within eight-tenths of ONE second outside Kennedy’s 21 year old national outdoor record.
That performance also ranks third on the Alabama all-time list and 9th on the 2015 world outdoor list at the time.
Born in Ghana on 2nd March, 1992, Alex Amankwah emigrated to the USA with his parents Erick Amankwah and Dorothy Nyarko in later years.
He had been on the Ghana Athletics Association’s radar for a while now and, received consideration for the 2014 Commonwealth Games/African Championship selection for the 4x400m relay team, after just missing the GAA’s 800m qualifying standard.
Chances at IAAF World Championships:
Alex Amankwah is currently ranked 69th on the IAAF 800m ranking ahead of Beijing 2015. He has been drawn in a tough Heat 3, which includes the biggest discovery of the season Amel Tuka.
Tuka has lowered his personal best by three-and-a-half seconds over a couple of months and now leads the world with the 1:42.51 he posted at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco.
Five out of the seven athletes in the Heat have superior times than the Ghanaian youngster.
HEAT 3 22 AUG 2015 12:06
ORDER / LANE BIB ATHLETE COUNTRY SB 2015 PB
3 573 Alex AMANKWAH GHA GHA 1:45.91 1:45.91
4 1058 Erik SOWINSKI USA USA 1:44.84 1:44.58
5 360 Rafith RODRÍGUEZ COL COL 1:45.53 1:44.31
6 730 Nader BELHANBEL MAR MAR 1:44.64 1:44.64
7 234 Amel TUKA BIH BIH 1:42.51 1:42.51
8 899 Žan RUDOLF SLO SLO 1:46.00 1:46.00
9 600 Mark ENGLISH IRL IRL 1:45.49 1:44.84
By: Erasmus Kwaw/Ghana Athletics Association
Kwaw is in Beijing by kind courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines