On Sunday morning, the first thing Eugene Amo Dadzi – the world’s fastest accountant – heard a knock on his door.
Having only returned Bleary-eyed from his life-changing trip to Austria late the night before, he excitedly jumps out of bed and hurries to welcome his first visitors.
“As soon as I saw their credentials, I was buzzing,” says Amu Dadzi of UK Anti-Doping Officers (OCAD) standing on his doorstep and asking to provide a urine sample. “It is an affirmation of your achievement.”
At 30, Amo-Dadzie is the oldest new kid the British enemy has ever seen.
Although he only took up athletics when he was 26, his impressive run of 9.93 seconds in Graz, Austria, last week means he is now the fastest 100m runner in Europe this year by a narrow margin. The time also puts him fourth on the all-time Brits list.
Not bad for a full-time accountant without sponsors or funding. “If you know anyone at Nike or Adidas or New Balance or Puma or Asics or anywhere else, send them my way,” he jokes.
9.93 seconds for Amo-Dadzie:
- Fourth fastest British male of all time
- Fastest European time this season so far
- Joint-13 is the fastest man in the world this year
- Rhys Prescod is the only other Briton under 10 seconds this year
Amo-Dadzie’s athletics story is one of two distinct beginnings, the second – and more important – coming in the summer of 2018 when he and his lifelong friend stumbled upon a local track meeting after playing soccer in East London.
Watching the 100-meter race, his friend turned to Amo-Dadzie and bluntly said, “You can put a couple of nails in and beat those guys. Why haven’t you tried this right before?”
Amu Dadzi didn’t have a real answer. He’s always been fast, competing for his high school—which he’s 11.3 seconds behind—despite never training or joining a local club.
His plans to join the athletics team while studying at the University of Nottingham fell apart amid the distractions of student life. “Let’s just say track and field quickly fell down my priority list,” he says, laughing.
While his friends teased him gently for wasting his outright pace on opposition defenders in amateur football, he was content to follow athletics from afar while telling himself he could have made it if only he had made it. That afternoon in East London, he belatedly decided to give it a shot.
Within a year of his first training session at Woodford Green Athletics Club, he reached the semi-finals of the British Championships, where he raced against Olympians Adam Gemelli and Harry Aikins-Ariete.
This debut season achieved a personal best of 10.55, which subsequently dropped to 10.20 in 2021 and 10.05 the following year.
Britain’s first jacket of the month arrived at the European Indoor Championships, where he reached the 60m semi-final, but few outside his immediate circle had any idea what was to come in Graz last Friday evening, where he shot through the course in almost entirely windless conditions.
“I got a really good reaction, a really good start, and then it was like, ‘Don’t let your foot come off the gas,’” he says. “I ran upright and it literally felt like I was flying.
“I leaned over to the line, looked, saw the time was nine and I went crazy. I just went crazy. God willing, I’m going to run that many times, but you only get the first time. It was one of the best days of my life.”
In a sport whose supporters are used to getting burned by things that sound too good to be true, some have cast their shadows on a soon-to-be unknown 30-year-old suddenly running such a fast time.
But Amu Dadzi says the criticism does not infuriate him, and he welcomes the opportunity to add it to the rigorous anti-doping regimen reserved for the highest rank of elite athletes.
“There are always people who are skeptical of the great things that people achieve,” he says. “If you know my story and follow me, it makes sense.
“I’m a big, big supporter of clean athletics. You’re welcome to break down my door. My wife will tell you how excited I was when they knocked on the door the first time.
“It’s an affirmation of all the hard work. They wouldn’t test someone who runs a 10.8. If I want to be a professional athlete, that’s what comes with that.”
Turning professional is certainly inevitable, though this week he’s back for training sessions on working as a senior management accountant for a real estate firm.
He’s on his way to earning an individual place on the British team for August’s World Championships, where he’ll also be hoping to make his 4 x 100m team debut.
One question remains – something more people ask with each giant leap he takes. Does he wonder what he might have accomplished if he had taken athletics seriously 15 or more years ago?
He says, “No. Easy answer.” “If I were 18, and I showed a little bit of potential and got a deal, I feel like I probably wouldn’t have realized that potential.
“I feel like I got into the sport at the right time. The cape that was on my shoulder at the time allowed me to navigate this thing in a reasonable way.
“I enjoy so much that I have a different story. I still refer to myself as an accountant working in the world of track and field.”
Certainly not anymore. He is now a runner and also happens to be an accountant.
|August 15, 1993
|July 13, 2013
|June 9, 2018
|May 31, 2022
|Ostrava (Czech Republic)
|Eugene Amo Dada
|June 16, 2023
|June 8, 2014
|July 30, 2016
|August 22, 1999
|June 7, 2015
|July 2, 1999
|Nathaniel Mitchell Blake
|May 13, 2017
|Colombia (United States)
Stats from the World Athletics website