TOKYO, Japan (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University’s Benjamin Azamati ran in the 100m dash at the 2020 Olympic Games earlier today. The freshman sprinter, who’s one of the fastest men in the world, ran in Round 1 of the men’s Heat 7.
Azamati placed fourth in the race, clocking in a time of 10.13 seconds.
This was the Olympic debut for the 23-year-old, who went into the heat saying he wants to break Jamiacan sprinter Usain Bolt’s record of 9.63 seconds. In an interview with TV3, Azamati explained that the dream of every athlete is break records and set them.
“The ideal time I want to run in my career is, you know I’m an athlete,” he said. “A 100-meter sprinter, and everyone looks at breaking records, so, of course, I’m looking at breaking Usain Bolt’s record.”
The Ghana native is well-known around the High Plains, as he played an integral part in leading the Men’s Track & Field team to a second-place finish at the 2021 NCAA Division II Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Allendale, Michigan.
Azamati turned a lot of heads when he broke the 38-year-old NCAA Division II 100m record as well as Ghana’s national record, running a smoking 9.97 at the Texas Relays in Austin back in March. Later in the season, he ran the number 2, 3, 4 and 5 best times in NCAA Division II history, including a 10.02 to win the Division II crown.
He ran so well that he qualified to run for his home country of Ghana, in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and sprint relays.
Amid his plentiful qualifications, the Sprinting Buff opted out of the 200m because he wanted to put all of his focus on one race. The idea behind it is simple, but highly effective.
“For the Olympics, I’m not going to run the 200. I opted out of it,” he told KAMR. “I’m gonna run the hundred and the four by hundred relay. And once I have just one individual race, I think I can focus on just that, and then go in there and execute perfectly.”
When you think of WT, having an Olympic sprinter roaming campus grounds is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But Azamati doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he’s fitting in just fine.
“I always say that I’ve been able to settle in perfectly. The community has helped me a lot because I got in and my teammates, my coaches, and everyone around helped me to settle in,” he said. “I mean, I feel like I’m appreciated, and you know, the people have really, really welcomed me, and I’m able to focus and really, really run pretty well on the track.”
What will Azamati count as a victory in Tokyo? Nothing but his best.
“I’m looking at beating my personal best. So anything below nine point nine seven, I’ll take it.”
Up next for Azamati is the semifinals and finals, Sunday, August 1. Both races will air sometime between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.