By Noah Miller
Miramar, Florida stirs memories of Tom Cruise and fighter jets making high-speed passes, whizzing by control towers to the Top Gun anthem. Now the mention of Miramar will conjure a new image of speed for at least one University of Calgary Dino. U of C sprinter Sam Effah blazed through the 100 metres final at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 championships in Miramar in an impressive 10.06 seconds, earning him not only the event’s golden hardware, but also shaving 0.16 seconds off his previous personal best record of 10.22 set in Edmonton last month.
As a result, the 21-year-old marketing student now holds one of the fastest times for the 100 metre sprint this year and is among an elite group of Canadian sprinters to complete the race in under 10.1 seconds.
“The race itself was pretty high- profile,” said Effah, noting the presence of competitors who won Jamaican national championships, a nation that has dominated sprinting in recent years.
“Going into that was definitely a little bit nerve racking just cause I know those guys are serious and are ranked highly in the world,” said Effah. “To come out on top in a race like that was really good and just shows that Canadian sprinting is making a comeback.”
Effah attributed his preparation to his coach Brenda Van Tighem. He added that it can be tough to balance schoolwork with athleticism.
“When it comes to meets during the school year, you have to pick and choose the meets that are really important just so you can focus on school,” said Effah. “It’s going to be tough this fall.”
This October, thanks to his previous personal best time of 10.22 which propelled him to be ranked first in Canada, Effah will be representing Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Dehli, India. Despite this huge honour, Effah’s gaze remains fixed on a bigger goal, London 2012.
“That’s my main goal,” said Effah. “I’ve run the standards to go, I just have to run it in the same year.”
Come 2012, if Effah continues to post times like this past year, it is likely that he will be in attendance for the summer Olympic games.
According to Dinos Athletics, Athletics Canada identified Effah as a hopeful for the 2012 Olympics in 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay.
This would be an impressive addition to an already stocked resume that also includes three-time defending Canadian Interuniversity Sport track athlete of the year, as well as a CIS record in the 60 metre set at last March’s nationals in Windsor.
“I know it sounds kind of cheese. Never give up and just go for it. Never settle,” encouraged Effah, who was full of praise for the track and field program at the U of C.
“The program is getting stronger,” said Effah. “We have a lot of up and coming talent so keep watching it.”
Effah’s last year of CIS eligibility with the Dinos begins this fall.