It’s very rare for someone to set a new record during their time as a student athlete. For those elite few, they are usually praised and given a spot on the Brock Wall of Fame located in the Walker Complex.
The athlete we decided to highlight this week has achieved this and so much more in his three years at Brock. Kwaku Bonsu has set and holds not just one, but three Brock University track and field records; one each year he has been a student. What’s equally as impressive is that Bonsu has set these records in three different track events: long jump, triple jump and high jump. His natural athleticism and focus has garnered Bonsu much attention and respect from peers and coaches within the track and field community.
“Let me preface by saying that Kwaku is a great all around athlete, a real talent. The coaching staff firmly believe that he can be successful in any event he specializes in but he is only a jump away from greatness,” said head track coach, Kevin Moore.
This third year nursing student began his track and field career at Holland March District Christian School where, in the third grade, he participated in a school track and field day. Then in high school, Bonsu’s father took a sabbatical from York University and moved his family to Ghana.
“I spent two years in Ghana actually. The school system is a lot more academically focused so there wasn’t a lot of sport there. We had a school track and field day. The only major accomplishment there was in grade 11 (15 years old) where I jumped 1.80m and was asked to join the national team of Ghana, but in the end I denied the offer,” said Bonsu.
Brock has not had great success with its track and field program in the past. The team roster was considerably smaller than other schools and Brock seldom sent competitors to bigger meets like OUA’s and CIS championships.
“When I was in first year, we had maybe three OUA qualifiers and last year was probably the same. This year we have eight OUA qualifiers. We also had 21 people on the team when I first started and now we’re at 41,” said Bonsu.
It was when Bonsu became a Badger back in 2014 that he began to specialize as a jumper in track and field. He immediately became a cornerstone on the track team giving impactful performances at meet after meet in his opening 2014/2015 season. He set a Brock high jump record of 1.95 meters in this first season and was awarded rookie of the year.
The next season Bonsu qualified for nationals for long jump with another Brock record breaking jump of 6.90 meters. He finished tenth in the country and for these achievements Bonsu was awarded MVP of the Brock track and field team. And now only one meet into the current season Bonsu is showing why he is such an invaluable piece to the track team’s development.
In Toronto Bonsu convinced his coaches to allow him to try the triple jump event. Bonsu was allowed to compete despite the fact that he doesn’t practice this jump and hadn’t competed in a triple jump event since he was in middle school. “I just closed my eyes and did it. When I overthink things it doesn’t work out for me so I try to keep an open mind,” recalled Bonsu.
The young athlete ended up setting a new Brock triple jump record at 12.59 meters, a record Bonsu is confident he will break again in the near future.
Bonsu believes that a connection exists between the development of the Brock track team and his motivation which pushes him to continue to train and compete at such a high level.
“It’s because I’ve been a part of the development of the Brock track team. It’s a release from school that gets me away from my studies and it’s a supportive group of people to be around,” said Bonsu. However, coach Moore believes it’s Bonsu’s nature that pushes the young athlete to such heights. “Kwaku is a hard working bright young student athlete. He is always looking to gratify himself and those around him through his leadership skills on and off the playing field,” he said.
There is indeed a bright future ahead for both the Brock track and field team as well as Bonsu. He will continue to compete in different jumping events for the remainder of the season which runs until March. Bonsu is already qualified for four events in the provincial OUA tournament, the 60m, long jump, high jump and triple jump. With U Sports experience under his belt, Bonsu will hope to medal at the national university level this season in one of the many events he excels in. Bonsu also has high hopes to take his track career to the highest level possible after he finishes his studies at Brock.
“Ideally I’d like to graduate and take a year off to train and go to Tokyo for the Olympics, that would be amazing but I couldn’t tell you if that will happen. My plan is to do my best in university and either move on to coaching or go to Tokyo 2020,” said Bonsu.
The Brock track and field team will travel to Ottawa for their next meet on January 20, 2017.