National 100m record holder Benjamin Kwaku Azamati has admitted he picked up valuable lessons about staying relaxed in the big moments following his maiden Wanda Diamond League success in Paris.
The US-based athlete came fourth in a time of 10.15s in a star-studded 100m field that included world medallist Andre de Grasse, Reece Prescod and African 100m record holder (9.84s) Akani Simbine at the Oslo leg of the Wanda Diamond League.
But he stormed to victory in the 100m final, clocking 10.25s at the Paris leg of the lucrative Diamond League.
“Oslo obviously taught me a lot of lessons,” he told Joy Sports’ George Addo Jnr. “Coming into this meet (Paris), I took down some notes to go through my race.”
“I needed to stay relaxed as possible. Just go through the heats. You could see through my start that I almost stumbled but I remained patient and went through the race relaxed and I was able to win gold.”
Having participated in the Tokyo 2020 100m, coupled with appearances in the 4x100m relay finals at Tokyo and the World Relays, Azamati reckons the Diamond League is another step in his feather.
“It feels good. I like the athlete I am growing into. I psyched myself that whatever the conditions may be, I was going to stay relaxed and I was able to do that throughout the race.
While some will be quick to point out the obvious flaws in his performances, coupled with the 10.25s, the context of the event cannot be lost on anybody as the competitors came up against a strong (-1.6 m/s) headwind.
“I wish it had been a tail wind. That would have been a 10.1 or 9.99, I don’t know what that would have been.”
“I don’t really know. But it is part of it, racing and it didn’t go in my favour. I think next time, we will see what happens. But 10.25s with a negative -1.6 wind is ok.
On a day, he had announced a sponsorship deal with Asics, the victory was made all the more memorable.
“I decided to show Asics what I can do on the big stage. I was happy to put on the ASICS apparel and win gold.”
Azamati currently holds the national record of 9.90(NR) and is set to represent the nation at the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.