In just four years, Benjamin Azamati has emerged from relative obscurity to national prominence as Ghana’s fastest man and a prospect on the global athletics stage.
Here are some of the facts you may not know about Ghana’s sprinting sensation:
Benjamin Azamati: Meteoric rise
Azamati has gone from an aspirant football player to a rising sprinting star making a maiden appearance at the Olympic Games and setting the track on fire on the U.S. collegiate scene.
The 24-year-old’s progress over the last four years has been nothing short of spectacular setting national 100m, 4x100m relay and 200m indoor records.
By the end of 2018, he could only muster a best time of 10.74 seconds before developing into a serious sprinter with international credentials.
Three years later, he announced himself to the world, breaking Ghana's 100m record of 9.97s at the Texas Relays in early 2021. He shaved 0.01s off the 22-year-old record held by Leonard Myles-Mills and, in the process, qualified for Tokyo 2020.
He improved his record a year later at the same event clocking an impressive 9.90s which is the ninth fastest time in the world in 2022 so far.
Benjamin Azamati: Setting the collegiate track on fire
Azamati went on a record-breaking rampage during his time as a member of the West Texas A&M University Track and Field team in the United States.
In 2021 he won the 100-200m sprint double at the NCAA division two outdoor championship in Michigan.
His national 100m marks in 2021 and 2022 were also NCAA division two records, while his 9.90s is the fifth-fastest time in NCAA history regardless of division.
Benjamin Azamati: An Olympic dream come true
Azamati qualified for his first Olympic Games in style with the national record he set at the beginning of 2021.
"It was a great feeling, it was the first race of the season, and I was looking forward to running an Olympic qualifying time…to cross the finish line and see a 9.97. I was shocked," he told the Olympic Channel Podcast.
"I was shocked. I mean, not that I can't run that time, but at that moment, it wasn't the time that I was expecting!"
Azamati was eliminated in the 100m heats but did reach an Olympic final as a member of Ghana's 4x100m relay team.
The quartet of Azamati, Sean Safo-Antwi, Emmanuel Yeboah and Joseph Paul Amoah clocked a national record of 38.08s to reach the men's 4x100m relay final for the first time since Atlanta 1996. The team crossed the line in fifth place but was disqualified for a lane infringement.
Benjamin Azamati: A fair shake on the international stage
Ghana’s sprint king made a promising Diamond League debut finishing in a creditable fourth at the Bislett Games in Oslo with a time of 10.15s. Canada’s Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse crossed the line in first place with 10.05s.
Two days later, Azamati tasted victory at the Paris meeting posting a winning time of 10.25s in the non-Diamond event giving him a confidence boost ahead of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Benjamin Azamati: Ploughing back
Cognisant of the impact sport has had on his life, Azamati is looking to provide youngsters in Ghana with a similar opportunity as the co-founder of the Legon Creative Athletics Club.
The club organised the Ghana Junior Olympics Open Championship, which aims to provide a platform for young athletes at an age-group level to showcase their talent and ignite a love for athletics in Ghana.
“As a student-athlete involved in competitive sports only at university, I am passionate about helping young people embrace and harness their potential earlier so that they could take advantage of the vast opportunities that sports provide,” Azamati wrote on his crowdsourcing page.
“My belief is that all kids deserve the opportunity to chase their dreams and become champions.”