Long before Black Stars former captain Asamoah Gyan stumbled into the ‘Baby Jet’ name, a fearsome athlete who put fear in the hearts of her competitors bore the name.
Alice Annum, affectionately called ‘Baby Jet’ and ‘Flying Queen’, made a name for herself as a sprinter and long jumper in the 60s and 70s.
Born on October 2, 1948 in Accra, the retired sports lady recorded a personal best time of 22.89 seconds in 200 metres race at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and 22.9 seconds in 200 metres (Christchurch, 1974).
Annum was a product of the defunct National Sports Festivals where young and promising athletes were discovered. She featured in the 1964 Olympic Games, placing 28th with a best jump of 5.45 metres in the preliminary stage. During her time, Annum set national and African records.
The theculturetrip.com says of her, “Ghana’s first sensational female Olympian sprinter but little known, she won gold at the 1965 All Africa Games (long jump) in Brazzaville, silver at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, silver again in both 100 meters and 200-meter races and bronze in the 1974 New Zealand edition; 200-meter section. Also, she pulled it off at three consecutive Olympic Games: 1964 (Tokyo), 1968 (Mexico City) and 1972 (Munich).”
Her events were the 100m, 200m and 4x100m as well as long jump. In the All-Africa games, she was lethal placing:
Gold medal – first place 1973 Lagos 100 m
Gold medal – first place 1973 Lagos 200 m
Gold medal – first place 1965 Brazzaville long jump
While at the Commonwealth Games she placed:
Bronze medal – third place 1974 Christchurch 200 m
Silver medal – second place 1970 Edinburgh 100 m
Silver medal – second place 1970 Edinburgh 200 m
If Gyan says his peers offered him the Baby Jet name because he had a baby face and was very fast, one could imagine the speed which dazzled those who beheld Ms. Annum to bestow the name on her. She recalls coming by the name ‘Baby Jet’ after her wonderful performance at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
Ms. Annum, who turned 71 this year, resides in Maryland, U.S. She is hopeful of receiving a house promised her by the Ghanaian government as part of her service to the West African nation.
She is inducted into the athlete’s Hall of Fame by the Ghanaian government reports Ghanasoccernet.com.
She reckons the athletics fortune of the state will be revived if regular Inter Schools/Colleges competitions are organised as well as a return of the Ghana Nigeria Friendship Games.