The grass track of Sunyani Secondary School (SUSEC) provided the arena for Ghana’s home-based athletes to finally get their national circuit season underway at the Interplast Ghana sponsored 2015 Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) National Circuit Championships last Saturday.
Sponsored by Interplast- Producers of High Quality PVC & HDPE Pipes, the 2015 Circuit will take place in three more venues after the Sunyani opener, including the second leg which comes off on 6th June at Akatsi in the Volta Region, followed bythe third leg at the El Wak Stadium on 4th July in Accra; while the final takes place at the Tamale Sports stadium on 8th August, 2015.
There were a number of notable performances, including African 4x100m relay medalist Beatrice Gyaman, who won the women’s 100m in 11.90 secs ahead of Dorcas Gyimah 12.09 and Happy Abruyah 12.17, while John Osei Kofi continued his impressive early form with a 21.68 clocking to win the 200m final, followed by Stephen Opoku in 21.94 and Emmanuel Appiah-Kubi in 21.96.
Several other athletes also competed in the various disciplines to set the tone for the season ahead, and also in an attempt to accumulate enough points to give themselves an early lead ahead of three more Circuit Championships in Akatsi, Accra and Tamale.
The latter list included but not restricted to African javelin silver medalist Mary Zuta Nartey, who won second place in the shot put with a throw of 11.28m, behind eventual winner and her Ghana Police Service compatriot Juana Ankamah, who won with a 11.38m toss while Janet Abdullah came third with 10.38m.
800m runner Martha Bissah stopped the clock at 4.43:33 to win the 1500m final, followed by Beatrice Konamah (who is coached by Bissah’s former coach Nii Odartey Lamptey) in second place in 4.47:04, while Hawa Kombat came third in 4.51:38.
With her star teammate Elizabeth Azuure away on a 3000m steeplechase venture to Kenya, Sakat Lariba ran a spirited race to register a comfortable win in the women’s 5000m in 17.35:62. The 2014 Commonwealth Games and African Championship participant established an unassailable lead after five laps, under little pressure from Beatrice Konamah who took second in 18.15:46 and third placed Judith Banyenel in 18.33:47.
GAA Vice President Dr. Silvanus Lamptey told the media that the objectives for the one-day competition which had over 300 athletes participating had been met.
“That is our plan. That is our programme that we should carry athletics to all parts of the country. People blame us why we have been competing on this surface, but if there is no tartan track here, does it mean athletics shouldn’t come here? That is what we’re doing and the athletes are happy to run on this surface.
“We had eight competitions last year: four circuit championships and four open championships. We are going to have more competitions this year.