How Tobi Amusan became Nigeria’s first gold winner at World Athletics

Tobi Amusan

Tobi Amusan on Sunday became the first Nigerian to win gold at the World Athletics Championship where she raced to victory in the women’s 100m hurdles in Eugene, Oregon.

Amusan clocked an incredible 12.06 seconds, smashing her world record in the semi-final where she clocked 12.12 seconds.

However, her winning time will not be recognised as a world record due to an illegal tailwind of 2.5 metres per second.

Britany Anderson of Jamaica won silver in 12.23 seconds, while Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico had to settle for bronze in 12.23 seconds.

Amusan could not hold back tears on the podium while the Nigeria national anthem was ongoing.

Speaking after her victory, the 25-year-old said, “Honestly, I believe in my abilities, but I was not expecting a world record at these championships.

“The goal is always just to execute well and get the win. So, the world record is a bonus. I knew I had it in me but I could not believe it when I saw it on the screen after the semis.

“Before the final, I just tried to stay calm and to do my best. I took a deep breath knowing that I have some goal to accomplish, and it worked pretty good. I knew it was very fast but not this fast.”

Oregon 2022 is Amusan’s third appearance at the World Championships after making her debut in London in 2017 where she made the semi-finals before finishing fourth in the final in Doha in 2019. She also placed fourth at the Tokyo Olympics.

Amusan had broken the African record three times in only 10 months.

Nigerians have taken to social media to praise her for the feat. Among them are presidential candidates Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi.

Also, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a congratulatory message by his spokesman Femi Adesina on Monday, joined millions of Nigerians in celebrating Amusan “who in one night stunned the athletics world with her superlative and stellar performance.”

He also commended Ese Brume for representing Nigeria with honour and pride, winning silver medal in the women’s long jump event.