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USF track and field athlete is 'grateful' to represent Ghana at the Paris Olympics

Two men on a track holding up bull horns.
Aileyahu Shanes
/
WUSF
Abdul-Rasheed Saminu, right, seen with USF track and field associate head coach Abigi Id-Deen, qualified for the 200-meter dash representing Ghana at the 2024 Olympics. He is expected to also qualify for the 100-meter dash.

Abdul-Rasheed Saminu will be the sixth USF track and field athlete to ever compete in the Olympics.

Abdul-Rasheed Saminu was born in a small village in the city of Nanumba. Now, at 22 years old, he gets to represent his native Ghana on one of the largest athletic stages, the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The University of South Florida sophomore qualified for the 200-meter dash and is expected to qualify for the 100-meter dash. He could also compete in the 4x100-meter relay, but Ghana's track and field coach will make that decision.

Track and field athletes do not run in all three competitions to conserve health and stamina.

Saminu is excited about the opportunity, but he is not putting too much pressure on himself.

"Olympics is just normal, it's just a name," Saminu said, "just go do what you're supposed to do. It's a little bit (of) pressure there. I'm just grateful I'm making it there, putting myself on the map alongside the school and my country. I'm just happy going. I'm not nervous at all."

RELATED: Here are the Tampa-area athletes competing for Team USA in the Paris Olympics

Saminu came to the U.S. in 2023 to start his athletic career at Florida Memorial University, before transferring to USF.

For USF track and field associate head coach Abigi Id-Deen, it's his talent and work ethic that sets Saminu apart from other athletes.

"It's our job to give them a map, but they have to drive," Id-Deen said. "If we give them the right tools in order to be successful, they have to follow through with those things. So it's great to see it."

Saminu's Instagram username is "@village_boyyy_" — a reminder of his roots in the small village where he was born.

"They support me every time, everywhere I go," Saminu said. "I'm rooting for them, putting them on the map. It's great to put them in my name."

The Olympics begin July 26 and run through August 11.

You can find a list of Tampa Bay area athletes who are competing for Team USA in the Summer Olympics and Paralympics here.

Man on a track
Aileyahu Shanes
/
WUSF
Saminu came to the U.S. in 2023 to start his athletic career at Florida Memorial University, before transferring to USF.

Aileyahu Shanes is a WUSF Rush Family Radio News intern for the summer of 2024.