Golden Girl: Martha Bissah wins Ghana’s first ever Olympic Gold medal

Ghana’s Martha Bissah became the first Ghanaian to win an Olympic gold medal at any level in any sport, after running a massive personal best and a national junior record of 2:04.90 to snatch victory in the 800m final from the more-favored Ethiopian and German competitors, at the ongoing Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China on Saturday.

Bissah, who is the reigning national Sea and Shore Circuit 800m Champion, kept pace with an early break-away group before out sprinting them with about 150 meters to end the race.

Bissah won the race in 2.04.90 followed by Ethiopia’s Hawi Alemu Negeri in 2:06.01(PB) while Germany’s Mareen Kalis took third place in 2:06.03. Ironically, Negeri won the African Youth Championships two months ago in Botswana, where Bissah won bronze.

Bissah erased her own personal best of 2:06.32 which she run at the just ended African Athletics Championship.

An enchanted commentator at the Youth Olympics commented about Martha’s achievement saying, “Martha Bissah the Ghanaian has given us a glimpse of the glorious future…without any shadow of a doubt… that was world class….if someone can tidy up that technique, she will be a force to be reckoned with when she becomes a senior.”

As well as participating in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, she put up a spirited performance at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Marrakech, Morocco earlier this month where she lowered her personal best from 2:07.95 to 2:06.32.

Ghana recorded its biggest medal haul in many years at the African Athletic Championships since 2006 after winning six medals.

She is most likely to join the 15 Ghanaian athletes who are already on Ghana Athletics Association-sourced scholarships in colleges in the USA.

The President of the Ghana Athletics Association, Prof. Francis Dodoo was full of praise for the young girl and her Kumasi-based coach, and applauded both for their contributions to Ghana. He commented on Martha Bissah’s performance:

“Her grit and determination were clear for all to see; she was ready to die for her country if need be,” he said.

“What wasn’t evident in the video to the lay person, was how much work she and her coach had done in Kumasi all year, how spiritual and morally upright she is, and how attentive and eager to learn any around her will find her to be.”

“Martha lives as a child of God, and He has chose this moment to lift her up; from here, the sky is the limit, and we must all stand ready to help her in her upward journey.”

Martha Bissah’s long time coach and guardian, Corporal Isaac Nii Odartey Lamptey, a serving officer of the Ghana Police Service Rapid Deployment Force in Kumasi, could not hide his joy at Martha’s success.

“I knew she was going to win in China. But it was a great joy when I heard she had won and also being the only Ghanaian who won a medal, not just a medal but a Gold medal.

“Since 2006, my dream has been to produce a senior Olympic medal athlete and Martha Bissah is going to make my dream come true at the next Olympic Games in 2016.

“Among her training mates, she is more determined and focused, so I had the trust in her that one day she can make me proud. I have been her coach and her manager at the same time ever since I met here. I only pray that my dream will come true, through her. I only thank God for bringing us this far.