My dad once burnt my sports kits — Tobi Amusan

Tobi Amusan

World record holder in the 100m hurdles Tobi Amusan has revealed she did not enjoy her father’s support to do sports while growing up.

Amusan was born in 1997 in Ijedu-Ode, Ogun State. Her 12.12 seconds race in the semifinals of the 100m hurdles at the World Athletics Championship held in Oregon, US, is now a world record.

Amusan said in the mixed zone shortly after going into history books as first Nigerian to win a gold medal at the championship that her father one time set her training kits on fire to stop her from doing sports.

“My parents are both teachers, they are strict disciplinarians,” Amusan told BBC Sports Africa.

“When you grow up in such a family, they feel you should focus on school. And being a female, they think you are going to go astray, lose focus and all of that.

“But because my mum saw what I didn’t see (in) myself, she felt she could give me a chance. And she kept telling me not to disappoint her.

“My mum would tell my dad I was going to church while I sneaked to practice or tell him I was going to a school debate while I went to an out-of-state competition. That’s where it all started.

“My dad got really mad one time when he found out (I was running). He burnt all my training gear and told my mum that’s the last time he wanted to see me in a stadium.”

Amusan’s career began at Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School in Ijebu-Ode.

Being a hurdles runner happened as an accident, she revealed.

“I used to be on the soccer team, but I would be all over the place on the pitch.

“My coach suggested I go try out on the track team and I became the fastest girl on the team, and that’s how I got on the school relay team,” Amusan said.