Janet Amponsah (200m) takes to the track at 6:30pm tonight at the World Athletics Championships [Heat 5, Lane 3]
After the disappointments of Emmanuel Dasor (400m: DNS), Alex Amankwah (800m: DNQ) and Nadia Eke (Triple Jump: DNQ); Ghanaians are not expecting much from Janet Amponsah either. But wait! Could she give us something to celebrate?
Here’s what to expect from her…
She could set a new National Record
She has a Personal Best (PB) of 22.90s which ranks as the 25th fastest time among the athletes in her event at the Worlds. With our national record standing at 22.80s held by Vida Nsiah, Janet is not so far behind. But in athletics, that’s a huge difference. However, she has some athletes in her heat who could perhaps push her to at least, equal our National record.
In Heat 5 where Janet finds herself:
- There’s Great Britain’s Dina Asher who has a Season’s Best (SB) time of 22.89s [PB 22.07s]; Janet is only 100th of a second behind her this season so she has every reason to be confident.
- T&T’s Ahye (22.50s) and Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel (22.50s) have the fastest times in her Heat and if she can keep up with them, she will not only qualify to the semifinals; she would also set a new National record in the process.
What’s working against her?
Lack of competitive action before the Championships…
Janet’s last competition was 27th May, 2017 at the NCAA East Regional Championships – 3 months ago. How did this happen for an athlete going into a major competition hoping to make an impact? Well, according to Andrew Owusu who monitors Ghanaian athletes in the US, “she was supposed to spend July doing more base work after 5 months of competing from January to May. Then spend 2-3 weeks competing in Europe. Her passport got sent to the UK consulate in New York on 19th June. She did not get it back till over a month later.”
So; not for the first time, visa frustrations halted her preparations. Asked if there could have been alternative arrangements for Janet to prepare for the competition, Owusu said: “No. The season shifts from US to Europe in early June. This is why even though she stayed back in the US, there wasn’t any competition for her.”
Despite the challenges, why should we be hopeful?
Well, Janet’s best time over 200m was set this season which means she’s running her best times this year. It also means she’s progressing. Unlike Dina Asher of GB for example whose personal best time (22.07s) was set back in 2015 at the Championships in Beijing. That also happens to be a British record for 200m by the way.
Janet tends to get off the blocks late. She has great finishing. If she can get out early, she will finish well. She’s the only hope we have if anything to smile about in the individual events. We have no choice than to throw our support behind her at 6:30pm tonight.