5 things you need to know about British 400m athlete Ama Pipi

·3-min read
Photo credit: Christian Petersen
Photo credit: Christian Petersen

British sprinter Ama Pipi began her career focusing on the 100m and 200m, setting a 200m PB of 22.95 in 2017. However, after coming under the tutelage of a certain famous coach named Linford Christie in 2019, she turned her focus towards the 400m.

The 26-year-old athlete from London travelled to the Tokyo Olympics last year, where she ran a 51.17 400m, reaching the semi-final, as well as being part of the women’s 4x400m relay team that came fifth.

This week, at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, she came third in her 400m heat, with a time of 51.32 – securing a place in the 400m semi-finals on Wednesday (taking place at 02:45 BST).

She also has the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this month, before rounding off a busy summer with the European Championships in Munich.

So, how much do you know about the Enfield & Haringey runner?

She was a footballer as a child

Pipi played football from aged nine. ‘I was a striker, but I could never score,’ she told the In The Zone Podcast. ‘But I was really fast, and my coach at the time recommended that I went into athletics.’

So she joined her local club and soon saw improvements. ‘I began beating the boys,’ she said. ‘And they didn’t like that.’

She studied at the University of Oklahoma

In 2015, aged 19, Pipi moved from the UK to the US to study sociology at the University of Oklahoma, where she joined the track team and competed as an NCAA sprinter in the 100m and 200m.

‘I literally knew nothing about the University of Oklahoma and the colleges in the United States in general,’ she told Oklahoma University’s Sooner Sports. ‘What I did know was that the competition in America was going to be way bigger than what I’ve had before, and that was what attracted me in the first place.

While there, she improved rapidly and took victory in some big races, including becoming the first woman from the university to win the 200m title in the Big 12.

She writes her goals down

Following the Olympic Trials in 2016, when she did not make the 200m for Team GB in Rio, she says that she was ‘hungrier than ever’, and pledged to work harder than ever to ensure that she qualified for the following Olympics in Tokyo.

‘My goal was 23.20,’ she said. ‘I wrote it down. It's on my mirror and everything. I see it every day. I wanted to run a 23.20 indoors and I knew I would be close to making it to nationals. When I ran 23.19, I was pretty excited about that, I’m not going to lie.’

She can lift a lot

Strength and conditioning plays an important role in Pipi's training schedule, and recently she posted on Instagram that she achieved an 80kg hang clean, complete with a highly impressive video, and an 80kg bench press in January.

Before a race, she likes to read some scripture

‘It gets my mind off anything that could go wrong,' she said. 'It gets me focused, I’m at peace and I’m not worrying about anything. I’m relaxed.’

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