Sprint hurdler, Nigeria’s Tobiloba Amusan has made history.
Just when many athletics followers thought that the nation might return from Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championship in the United States empty handed, following the failure by Nigeria’s male sprinters, Amusan came to the party with a huge surprise in the early hours of Monday, winning gold medal in the 100m hurdles, the first ever by a Nigerian in the history of the World Athletics Championship.
Apart from being Nigeria’s first ever gold medallist in the championship, Amusan’s 12.06 seconds mark, wind-added (+2.5 m/s), was the first in 36 years. It was the 4th world record set in women’s hurdles. The first two world records were set in far back 1969, when Nigeria was fighting civil war. Then, women hurdles were moving up from the 80meters to the present day 100m.
Amusan’s world record of 12.06second at Oregon on Monday morning also better the 12.20seconds of Keni Harrison of USA in 2016.
Before she won the gold in the early hours of Monday, Amusan actually broke the World record in her semifinal heat one, running a legal 12.12seconds, the first in 36 years.
Jamaica’s Brilary Anderson picked the silver, while Jasmin Camacho-Quinn (Peru) got the bronze.
Amusan’s world record earned her $100,000 on the final day of Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championship.
On day one of the women’s 100m hurdles on Saturday evening, Amusan proved to everyone that she in the form of her life. as she yet again improved on her African record in the hurdles event with a time of 12.40s (+1.5).
It was Amusan’s third straight semifinals in World Athletics Championships history.
After her race on Saturday, Amusan on her Facebook page wrote: “God is working His purpose out. 12.42s—>12.41s—>12.40s.
“Glad to have broken the African Record THREE times. I don’t know why it’s coming by 0.01s each time.
“I am trusting God through the rounds! ”
Having eclipsed Gloria Alozie’s 12.44s record at the Championships, Amusan, who is the reigning African champion and record holder, did not just fulfilled her dream of becoming the second Nigerian woman to win a World Championships medal in this event, but has set a record no other Nigerians and indeed African has achieved.
Alozie won the silver medal at the championships’ seventh edition in Seville, Spain in 1999.
Amusan is the reigning African Games, African Championships, Commonwealth Games, and Diamond League champion.
The 25-year-old has been a bit unlucky in the World Championships and Olympics where her best finish was fourth place in Doha and Tokyo.
On her part, Long jumper, Ese Brume, grabbed a silver medal for Nigeria with a leap of 7.02meters also in the early hours of Monday. Malaika Mihambo of Germany won the gold with a leap of 7.12meter.
Brume was the only Nigerian to win a medal at the last edition of the world championships in Qatar, Doha in 2019. She was also Nigeria’s only medallist at the Tokyo Olympics as well as the last World Indoor Championship in Belgrade in March this year.
AFN president, Tonobok Okowa, who stayed awake to watch the two Nigerians could not hide his feelings.
“I can’t believe what has just happened in the history of Nigeria’s athletics,” Okowa told The Guardian in a telephone chat.
“A big congratulations to Amusan and Brume for this historic moment. Our struggle was not in vain. They have made Nigeria proud. They have given me hope and the courage to do more for athletics irrespective of the challenges we are facing. I thank God for what He has done for Nigeria through Amusan and Brume,” Okowa stated.
Godwin Akpadonor is of The Guardian , writes from Lagos