Tobi Amusan:Primed for Olympic Gold

With Paris Olympic Games just 69 days away, Nigeria’s Queen of the track and 100m hurdles world record holder, Tobi Amusan, gave the country a taste of what to expect at the World’s biggest sports showpiece in Paris in summer. Amusan raced to gold at the inaugural Jamaica Athletics Invitational in Kinston, beating perennial rival, home favourite and reigning world champion, Danielle Williams to the gold in what could be described as a dress rehearsal to the Olympics, running a global season’s best time of 12.40 seconds 

Nigeria’s medal hopeful in the Summer Olympic Games billed for Paris, Tobi Amusan seems to be peaking at right time as the 100m hurdles world record holder became the world’s fastest woman in the women’s 100m hurdles following her scintilating performance at the inaugural Jamaica Athletics Invitational in Kinston last Saturday.

The back-to-back Commonwealth Games gold medalist was thrust into the limelight once again she ran a world-leading time of 12.40 seconds to beat home favourite and reigning world champion, Danielle Williams (12.46) with USA’s Christina Clemens third in 12.54s to make a major statement of intent ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The Nigerian trailed Williams and American Nia Ali for most of the race but surged ahead in the closing stages, eclipsing the previous world-leading time of 12.42 set by Tonea Marshall of the USA on April 20.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Sports Development John Enoh has commended Nigerian hurdler and world record holder for her outstanding performance at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational.

The sports minister in a post on his X (formerly Twitter) congratulated Amusan for her stellar performance, highlighting her role in inspiring hope for Nigeria’s success at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

“Tobi, you keep making our country proud. The Paris Olympics is around the corner, your performance gives us hope just like others, that Nigeria is set to break a jinx. Keep soaring, we are proud of you,” the sports minister said on his X account.

Having recently set a new African record in the 60m hurdles event, Amusan continues to raise the bar in athletics. With her latest achievement, she has overtaken the world lead from Marshall.

The Jamaica Athletics Invitational, recognised as a Continental Tour-Silver meet, provided Amusan with a platform to showcase her talent on the international stage.

Amusan ended last season on a high by winning the Diamond League women’s 100m hurdles title in Eugene, Oregon for an astonishing third consecutive time to silence critics following a disappointing performance at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

The Ogun State-born Amusan has been in scintillating form so far this year, having opened her campaign with an African record of 12.58s in Doha last month.

She’s clearly picked up where she left off after her jaw-dropping world record run of 12.12s to take gold at last year’s World Championships in Oregon.

With this blistering early-season time in Jamaica, Amusan has sent out an ominous warning to her rivals that she’ll take some stopping in her bid to reclaim her world title.

In March, Amusan ran a time of 12.89 seconds to win the Women’s 100 metres hurdles at the African Games in Ghana.

After a false start scare, Amusan flew to an easy win to completes a hat-trick of African Games titles.

Amusan is the current world record holder in the 100 metres hurdles with a time of 12.12 seconds which she set at the 2022 women’s 100 metres hurdles semi final in Eugene Oregon.

She is the current Commonwealth and African champion in the 100m hurdles, as well as the meet record holder in those two competitions.

Amusan became the first ever Nigerian world champion and world record holder in an athletics event when she won the 2022 World Championships 100m hurdles gold medal, setting the current world record of 12.12 seconds (+0.9m/s) in the semi-final, followed up by a 12.06 seconds (+2.5m/s) in the final.

She won back-to-back Commonwealth and African titles in 2018 and 2022 in the 100m hurdles and is also now a three-time African Games champion in the event.

As the reigning World, Commonwealth, and African record holder in the women’s 100m hurdles, Amusan carries the hopes of the Nigerian contingent for Olympic success.

With the Olympics scheduled to commence on July 26 at France’s national stadium, Amusan’s stellar performances serve as a source of inspiration for her fellow athletes and the nation as a whole.

One only hope that that managers Amusa would be cautious by not letting her burn herself out before the summer Olympics as many Nigerian athletes have experienced such fate in the past. After returning with very impressive time in pre-tournaments only to flop when the chips are down after they must have been burnt out.

It however remains to be seen how well Amusan manage her programme schedule before the Paris showdown.

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