Ghana’s 4×100m relay team has booked a spot in the final of the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Eugene, USA.
The quartet of Sean Safo-Antwi, Benjamin Azamati, Joseph Manu, and Joseph Amoah ran a blistering time of 38.58s, a season’s best to finish third behind the USA and Great Britain.
Safo-Antwi got off the blocks at an incredible pace, before Azamati and Manu combined to hand Amoah the anchor leg home.
Taking the baton in 6th, the Coppin State University alumnus executed an incredible race, coming from behind to beat Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands to pick the third sport.
Joe Paul, as Joseph Paul Amoah is affectionately called, after a season’s best run of 20.40s in the 200m, a time that was not good enough for semis, promised the quartet would deliver in the relays.
“We will give Ghanaians what they want,” Amoah said in a post-race interview with Joy Sports.
“Azamati is in a good shape, I think I am getting back to my best, Sean has always been an incredible member of this team, and the rest of the guys.
“I think we are good to go and will make Ghanaians happy in there,” he stated.
Indeed, the success of the team in the relays appears to be redemption as Ghana’s social media was awash with eulogies from aficionados who stayed awake past midnight to watch the race.
“We ran the 100m, it didn’t go as we wanted, we run the 200m, it didn’t go as we wanted so we had to focus on what was coming which is the relays, and we had to deliver; we had to give them what they want,” Amoah told Joy Sports.
This quartet has been brilliant with its execution in this contest. About a year ago, in Silesia, Poland, the team secured qualification to the Olympics and this world championships with 38.30s run.
They would later make history by running a new national record of 38.08 seconds, topping Team USA and securing the last qualifying spot for the final of the Tokyo Olympics just months later.
These won many hearts and they are aware of this.
“We know Ghanaians love the relays,” Joe Paul noted.
“We needed to run a good race, so we played it safe. I think we handled it well and we had to do what we had to do.
“We will come back here [Hayward field] tomorrow [Sunday] to see how best we can run for a medal,” he said.
Azamati, Ghana’s 100m record holder with a time of 9.90s, believes this group can only get better.
“We are aware of the expectations, but we need it more. We know how important it is to be at this stage, and we are aware we have to work.
“I feel that as much as the fans home feel it’s important that we get to the next rounds, I feel it’s more important to us. We can always improve when we work as a team,” he said.
The final on Sunday will have Ghana line up against the USA, Jamaica, Canada, France, Great Britain, South Africa, and Brazil.
These countries do not scare Manu who is confident the team has the qualities to make a podium.
“I think if we are in good shape, he began “we are capable of medaling.’
‘It is about our preparation and execution and getting everything right. I know when we get everything right, we can make a podium,” he stated.
Ghana will be in lane 8 for the final, a lane Sarfo-Antwi, who began this contest describes as his favourite.
“To be honest, I like lane 8. I wouldn’t mind if we are in lane 8 or 7 for the final. You just focus on yourself,” he said.
Apart from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Team Ghana is familiar with lane 8. It was the lane that qualified them for the Olympics and this championship in Eugene when they competed in Silesia, Poland, and it was same lane in the previous world championships in Doha.
The stage, can they make history? The podium awaits!