» A&A with Sam Effah
Sam Effah is currently competing for the University of Calgary under the watchful eye of coach Brenda Van Tigham. Effah has had a spectacular 2010 season, headlined by the 10.06 100m sprint to capture gold at the NACAC Championships in Florida.
His time was fourth all-time in Canadian history which is remarkable since he just start track & field in 2006. Effah’s 10.06 is the fastest time posted by a Canadian in the 100 since Nicolas Macrozonaris stopped the clock in 10.03 in Mexico on May 3, 2003. It also places him in very select company in the world of Canadian sprinting, joining the likes of Harry Jerome, Donovan Bailey, and Bruny Surin along with Macrozonaris in running times below 10.1 seconds.
A 21-year-old graduate of Sir Winston Churchill High School, Effah has been ranked number one in Canada after his performances at the Edmonton International Track Classic which qualified him for the Commonwealth Games this October in Dehli, India.
He is the three-time defending Canadian Interuniversity Sport track athlete of the year and set a CIS record in the 60 metres at the national championships in Windsor last March with a time of 6.57.
A high school football player who didn’t get serious about sprinting until beginning his studies at the University of Calgary in 2006, Effah has been identified by Athletics Canada as a hopeful for the 2012 Olympics in London in both the 100 and 200 along with the 4x100-metre relay.
1. How did you get involved with athletics?
I got involved through athletics through highs school sports. I played football, rugby and ran track on high school teams and then decided to run track in University. I knew I wanted to compete in a sport after high school. I started to train with the University of Calgary Athletics Club under Brenda Van Tighem in 2006 and have continued to compete ever since. Athletics has enabled me to travel around the world in places that I may not have went to and I really enjoy competing.
2. How would you describe your inner drive that propelled you during your athletic career?
I have a big inner drive to be successful in track. My parents, family and faith always pushed me do my best at everything I tried when I was younger, I continue on with the same attitude as I compete and train. I want to medal at a major international competition like the World University Games, or World Championships. That is another drive that keeps me going.
3. What is a personal accomplishment that you are most proud of?
- My 2010 National Championships campaign - it was a head to head race with the fastest in Canada and I qualified for the Commonwealth Games in India by winning the 100m.
- My experience at the 2010 Commonwealth Games - Though I placed poorly in the final, I proved to myself that I have what it takes to compete with some of the worlds best and run consistently through the heats. It was an experience that not only showed me what I was capable of, but what I need to learn in big competitions. Its easy to be upset about a poor result, but i'm using it as inspiration for what I need to do next year and I feel confident that come 2011, ill be back at it and ready to compete.
4. In looking forward beyond London 2012 to Rio 2016 & beyond, what priorities should ‘athletics’ collectively work together on to evolve & grow the sport?
I think athletics should expand to have more higher level competitions around the globe, with grand Prix type meets in Canada and countries that currently do not have them. It would add to the sport greatly.
5. If you could change one specific thing about our sport in Canada, what would you change? and why?
If more youth were encouraged to take up track and field like hockey. There are great programs like the Run, Jump and Throw that continue to promote the sport. Things like an indoor national championship each year that was open to all (with people interested in competing and watching it) would be great! One issue, especially in Calgary is the lack of indoor training facilities. Not having an indoor field house is definitely challenging to those who want to spectate, compete and train in the Sport of track and field. It would also ensure that athletes are not forced to leave Canada to get quality training done in winter months.