Stuart wrote his third piece from Budapest on Eugene Amo-Dadzie, the world’s fastest accountant. It is pretty cool to see an athlete who came to the sport late and is running for its own sake.
The world’s fastest accountant!
Every athlete has a story! But few have a back story as compelling as that of Eugene Amo-Dadzie. In 2006 he won his country under 16s 100m race in 12.1. His next 100m race came 13 years later, and he ran 10.55. When he ran 9.93 in Austria in June this year, people started to take notice. And here he is now, in his first world championships at age 31.
“There is an element of my journey that doesn’t really make sense. It’s not very logical. It’s very rare, very unique. I want people to look at it, be inspired by it, and know that it’s never too late.”
After university, he got a job as an accountant, concentrated on his career, and forgot about athletics. But in the winter of 2018, he suddenly decided to give track and field another go and see what he could do. Part of the motivation was wondering, “What if?” He said: “I used to sit at home and watch championships thinking: ‘If I’d trained, I could have made it’.” Friends told him he had wasted his talent.
Eugene Amo-Dadzie, the world’s fastest accountant, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics
He found himself at a local track meet where the 100m was won in 11.3. A friend said: ‘Why did you never try? Why have you never given this thing a go?’ “At that moment”, he recalls, “I thought: ‘What do I have to lose?’ And, thank God, I sit here now, the world’s fastest accountant, about to be on the world stage”.
Within a year Amo-Dadzie had reached the 100m semi-finals of the British championships and steadily progressed. And he was making this progress while holding down a regular 9-5 finance job, balancing work and training, and using his annual holiday leave for competitions. He is taking annual leave to compete in Budapest!
He knew he had reached a different level when he ran that 9.93 in June 2023. He has found that people react positively to him: “I think there’s maybe an element of ‘who is this guy,’ but every time we have conversations, they find the whole world’s fastest accountant thing really funny.”
He earned a selection for the GB team at the European Indoors in March in Istanbul, reaching the semi-final, and then a good performance at the GB Champs got him on the plane to Budapest.
In the prelim this week, he ran 10.10 to come second, commenting in a manner that almost suggested that he could not quite believe what was happening! “The main thing was always to qualify. I am very pleased I have executed a good run – hopefully, my coach agrees! I had a lot of fun out there and really enjoyed it. And I am going to keep doing that. Let’s see, in terms of goals and aspirations of where I am. I am having fun”.
He was fourth in the semi-final in 10.03, tenth place overall with eight qualifying for the final – he was 2 hundredths of a second from the final, but he was upbeat about it: “I’ve got mixed emotions right now to be fair. I had a dust-up with the best sprinters in the world and did okay. I’m definitely proud. I’m a chartered accountant. Not to play me down, but you know it was fun! World championships semi-finalist is not bad at all, I think overall, I am proud. The fighter in me is disappointed, but this is just a stepping stone for future major championships. Being competitive against the world’s best and knowing that it could have gone differently on another day gives me confidence. I know there is a better version of me”.
The 100 is contested by the superstars of our sport, but I, for one, am delighted that there is also a place for the world’s fastest accountant!