British sprinter Eugene Amo-Dadzie is the world's fastest accountant!
Eugene Amo-Dadzie is the world’s fastest accountant! British sprinter realised he was rapid when he ran for the bus… and his career rocketed after shock 9.93sec run in June
- Eugene Amo-Dadzie is already fourth on the all-time list of British sprinters
- The 31-year-old has the chance to go for 100m gold at World Championships
- He works full-time as a chartered accountant, fitting his training around his job
For Eugene Amo-Dadzie, Hungary is a holiday. ‘I’m out here on annual leave,’ reveals the 31-year-old. ‘Tuesday 29th August, I report back to work.’
That work is as a senior management accountant for London property developers, Berkeley. Before he returns to his full-time job, though, Amo-Dadzie will enjoy his break in Budapest – and the small matter of running the 100metres for Great Britain at the World Championships.
The blocks one week, the books the next. It is an extraordinary story, especially when you consider Amo-Dadzie only took up athletics five years ago and is already fourth on the all-time list of British sprinters after clocking 9.93sec in June.
‘There is an element of my journey that doesn’t really make sense,’ admits the self-styled world’s fastest accountant. ‘It’s not very logical. It’s very rare, very unique.
‘But I want people to look at it, be inspired by it and know that it’s never too late. If myself, being a family man, being a chartered accountant, being the governor of a primary school, can do what I’ve done, then why can’t you. We always find reasons why we can do things. I want my journey to show it’s possible.’
Eugene Amo-Dadzie (above) is already fourth on the all-time list of British sprinters
He competed for Great Britain for the first time at European Indoor Championships in March
That journey began in Walthamstow, east London, where Amo-Dadzie first found out he was fast by accident. ‘I was between bus stops one day – there was maybe 100m between the two,’ he begins.
‘I walked past the first bus stop and then I heard the bus coming. I turned around and saw it breeze past the first bus stop.
‘I was like, “I need to get this bus”. So schoolbag on, loafers on, I just took off running for this bus. There was some kid smiling or laughing thinking, “This kid’s not about to make it”.
‘I remember catching up with this bus, getting on, going to the back of the bus, sitting down and the kid was just stood there open-mouthed like, ‘Oh my god”. That’s when I recognised how quick I was.’
Still, despite competing for his secondary school, track and field largely passed Amo-Dadzie by. He never joined a club and instead focused on fulfilling his academic potential rather than his athletic one.
‘Coming from a West African, Ghanaian household, my parents really hammered home academics, academics, academics,’ explains Amo-Dadzie, whose mother was a social carer and father a London Underground worker.
‘I found myself as being somebody who liked numbers, doing A-levels in maths and economics. I went to the University of Nottingham and did a finance and accounting degree.
‘I got my degree, finished university, joined a firm, got a training contract, became a chartered accountant, so that was kind of the path. That was me. On the side, I played a bit of football recreationally.’
It was actually while playing football in the summer of 2018 that ‘God flicked a switch’ in Amo-Dadzie’s head. Heading home after a game in east London with his lifelong friend, they stumbled across an athletics meeting at a local track.
The 31-year-old is the second-quickest man in Europe this year after his 9.93sec run in June
‘The 100m was going on and I think somebody won in 11.3sec,’ he recalls. ‘My mate turned to me and said, “You were fast at school, why have you never given this thing a go?”. In that moment, I thought, “What do I have to lose?”.
‘The target or the aspiration then was just, “OK, do a bit of formal training”. That was the only expectation that I had when I started. That was winter 2018 and, thank god, I sit here now, world’s fastest accountant, about to be on the world stage.’
Not only is he the world’s fastest accountant, he is also the second-quickest man in Europe this year after his team-mate Zharnel Hughes, and the 17th-fastest in the world.
Amo-Dadzie competed for his country for the first time at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March. But his career has catapulted since that shock 9.93sec run in Graz, Austria at the start of the outdoor season.
‘I’d definitely say my life has changed after running sub-10 in Austria,’ admits Amo-Dadzie, who finished third behind Hughes and Reece Prescod at last month’s British trials.
‘I’m not someone who is used to speaking with media all the time. I have an agent now. I have people who have recognised me in certain places. Taking pictures. It’s really cool, I’m embracing all of it, but I’m keeping my feet on the ground.’
Amo-Dadzie is grateful to his employers for letting him belatedly realise his track talent. ‘I still work full-time hours but they have made a contractual provision for me to train and then make up the hours,’ he says. ‘That has been huge.
‘Most of my training group are full time – they will be at Lee Valley four times a week. Because of my work commitments I’ll go twice, which is Tuesdays and Fridays. Monday and Thursday, I train by myself in the evenings after work. I’m always on top of my work load. I never slip behind. But it’s a tough balance at times.’
Amo-Dadzie also has to balance looking after his two-year-old daughter and being a school governor. But while his added responsibilities helps put sprinting into perspective, that does not mean he is heading on his Hungary ‘holiday’ just to make up the numbers.
‘Success is the mere fact that I had the courage once upon a time to give my talent to god, to do this,’ he adds. ‘But does it mean I have no expectations and ambition going into the championships? No, it doesn’t mean that.
He continues to work full-time as a chartered accountant, fitting his training around his job
‘I have raced the fastest man in the world (Hughes) already. I’ve seen him, I’ve felt him. I don’t need to go into the championships with any fear because the guy who is the fastest in the world this year is in my backyard.
‘I’m super relaxed, super comfortable, super confident. I understand that bigger picture, perspective wise. The very fact that I’m sat here speaking to you guys, I’ve already won. There are way more important and significant things going on in my actual life than there are in track and field.
‘But we are in a sport, where we are judged by the times, the medals. You are not going to get any big bold claims out of me. But I’m going to go out there, put my best foot forward and I’m going to entertain. I’m going to have some fun.’
And they say accountants are boring.
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