A former USA National Track and Field Team Head coach, Dean Hayes, has presented the 2015 Liquid Sports Ghana-Ethiopian Airlines men’s and women’s athlete of the year awards to John Ampomah and Janet Amponsah respectively, at a short ceremony at the Middle Tennessee State University USA on Thursday, 11th February.
The award ceremony took place at the Middle Tennessee vs LA Tech Women’s basketball game where the two athletes are currently pursuing their academic studies and honing their athletic skills on Ghana Athletics Association’s sourced scholarships.
From the three pictures released through the university’s official athletics page, “The Blue Raider Track and Field,” the two “Js”, as they are affectionately called on social media, are seen holding their individual awards, and later standing by each other.
According to the organizers of the award, Liquid Sports Ghana and Ethiopian Airlines, “they are delighted and humbled to have had a coach of the caliber of Mr. Dean Hayes agreeing to present the awards to the athletes.”
The organizers also “want to use the opportunity to acknowledge Coach Haye’s immense contribution to the development of Ghanaian athletes both past and present.”#
Coach Hayes has been instrumental in the careers of several Ghanaian athletes in the past and present. He has had extensive experience training several Ghanaian athletes dating as far back as 1974.
He has helped several Ghanaian athletes in their track and field careers at one point or another. The latter list includes athletes Christian Nsiah, Albert Agyemang, Tanko Braimah, John Dodoo, Andrew Owusu, Eric Nkansah, Francis Dodoo, Boniface Amuzu, Naomi Ansah, Rosina Amenebede, Samuel Adade, John Ampomah, Atsu Nyamadi, and more.
Additionally, Team Athletics has benefitted from the experience and expertise of Mr. Hayes over the years. He volunteered to help the nation’s athletes at their pre games camp in South Ayrshire before the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Coach Hayes’s primary role was to supervise the training of the javelin and discus throwers as well as the multi-events.
At the 2015 All Africa Games, Team Athletics again benefitted from the expertise of the experienced American coach.
On 29th January 2016, Ghana javelin record holder John Ampomah and national sprint queen Janet Amponsah were named male and female Liquid Sports Ghana-Ethiopian Airlines Athletes of the Year 2015 respectively on national television.
Both athletes excelled during 2015, John Ampomah in the javelin and Janet in the 100m/200m events. Ampomah became the first Ghanaian athlete to throw beyond 80m after throwing a spectacular 81.55m in April, 2015 and 82.94m to win silver at the 2015 All Africa Games months later.
Ampomah has broken the national javelin record an unprecedented nine times since 2012 when he came onto the national scene.
Sprint queen Janet Amponsah produced life time performances in 2015, clocking 11.29s in the 100m and 23.05s in the 200m events respectively to qualify for the 2015 IAAF World Championships. In the process, she recorded the fastest time ran by a Ghanaian since September 16, 2006.
Among her achievements for the year, she anchored the women’s 4x100m relay team to win silver at the 2015 All Africa Games (AAG) in Congo-Brazzaville and placing 4th in the 200m final at the AAG.
How the award was decided:
The award was voted for by 16 people made up of an IAAF expert, international journalists, Ghanaian journalists and a select group of coaches.
Firstly, a selection panel short listed the top 10 athletics performances for both men and women using primary data from the Ghana Athletics Association’s end of year 2015 rankings.
The nominees were determined using the IAAF’s Scoring Tables of Athletics, performance at the 2015 All Africa Games and 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG), World and African rankings, and national records broken.
From those finalists, the voting panel selected the male and female Liquid Sports Ghana Athletes of the Year respectively.
The international cast of athletics experts included renowned IAAF Expert and French journalist Yves Pinaud, who is the official statistician of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA).
The panel also had Mark Muga Ouma, Sports Editor for ‘Daybreak Africa News” on Voice of America, Yomi Omogbeja, Editor of AthleticsAfrica.com; Carole Fuchs of www.africathle.com fame; Yemi Olus, a senior sports writer at Making of Champions, Nigeria’s No. 1 Athletics platform, as members.
The list of Ghanaian journalists included ace sports analyst Karl Tufuoh, GH One Presenter Samuel Acquah-Bartels, the Managing Editor of Pulse.com.gh, Godfred Akoto Boafo, Saddick Adams-Atinka Fm, Nathan Quao-Citi Fm, Benjamin Willie Graham-GBC/Super Sports, Philip Otuo-Starr Fm and Kwame Amoh-TV 3 Online Editor.
In addition to that, three Ghanaian based coaches namely Christopher Darko- Amankrah, who accompanied Team Ghana to the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Salamatu Musa, who accompanied Team Athletics at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa, and Northern regional coach Abu Alhassan were also part of the voting panel.
By: Liquid Sports/Ghana