Nigeria’s world record-holder Tobiloba Ayomide Amusan capped a sensational season by adding the Diamond Trophy to her incredible and ever-expanding prize cabinet, beating a highly competitive field in a thrilling 100m hurdles final.
The 25-year-old is no stranger to breaking records – her world record of 12.12 seconds was set in the semifinals at the World Championships in Oregon, where she went on to get gold, and her Commonwealth title was gained in a Games record.
This time it was a meeting record that fell at one of the most star-studded line-ups at Letzigrund Stadium this year.
Amusan erased the 12.40-meeting record set by USA’s Gail Devers in 2000, lowering it to an impressive 12.29.
‘Everyone has doubted me. I just had to prove myself, that I have got it,’ said Amusan, who also won the African title this year. “I am just so thankful for all of this season. I am full of emotions. Now, vacation, rest and then back to practice.’
Amusan’s Prize Cabinet
Aside the World title, all of the other titles Amusan won were not new titles. The petite Nigerian actually successfully defended most of the titles she won in 2022.
The petite Nigerian was crowned African champion in the high hurdles at the African Championships in Mauritius in June when she ran a wind-aided 12.57 seconds (+4.0m/s) to successfully defend the title she won four years earlier in Asaba, Delta state.
The 12.57 seconds the Nigerian ran in the event remains the fastest time ever recorded in all conditions in the history of the Championships.
While the wind stopped the Nigerian from setting a new competition record at the African championships, there was nothing of such at the Nigerian championships held in Benin city, capital of Edo state also in June.
Amusan could not also be denied the opportunity to set a new record by the electronic timing machine like it did in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympic trials in Lagos.
This time, both the wind and the electronic timer combined to ensure a perfect day for the sprint hurdler who ran 12.54 seconds to break the 12.63 seconds record Angela Atede set in 1997 in Lagos.
This was the real deal that defined Amusan’s legendary status in the event and the sports of track and field.
Here she made history as the first Nigerian track and field athlete to be cowned a world champion at World Athletics’ flagship event, the World Athletics Championships.
Amusan achieved this in a spectacular, record-breaking fashion right from the opening heat.
She ran 12.40 seconds to win heat three of the first round at the championships.
That time is one hundreth of a second faster than the 12.41 African record she had set on June 18 at the Meeting de Paris Diamond League meeting at the Stade Charléty in Paris, France.
The reigning Nigeria and African champion then moved up to a different level in the semis, running 12.12 seconds to obliterate the 12.20 seconds World record American hurdler, Kendra Harisson set in 2016.
In the final, a tail wind of +2.5m/s stopped her from rewriting her world record but could not stop her from racing into history books as Nigeria’s first ever and only world champion!.
It was actually a no brainer that Amusan will be the overwhelming favourite to win the high hurdles title at the Games.
The Nigerian fulfilled expectations in a record-breaking fashion.
On her first attempt at breaking the 12.65 seconds Games record set in 2016, a tail wind of +2.4m/s rendered her 12.40 seconds record invalid in the opening heat/semifinal.
In the final the Nigerian got lucky on a cold morning at the Alexander stadium in Birmingham as she scorched to a new 12.30 seconds Games record into a -0.9m/s head wind.
The time not only conferred on Amusan the title of Games record holder, it also ensured she successfully defended the Commonwealth Games crown she won four years earlier in the Gold Coast, Australia.
She thus became the first and only Nigerian track and field athlete to successfully defend a Commonwealth Games title but also the second in Games history after Australia’s Sally Pearson to do so in the event.
Diamond League Champion:
Amusan had to deal with loads of pressure in her successful attempt to defend the Diamond League trophy she won in an historic manner last year in Zurich.
The Nigerian, with her status as World and Commonwealth champion played second fiddle to reigning Olympic champion, Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland late August.
Camacho-Quinn further raised the bar at the following Diamond League meeting in Brussels where she ran a new 12.27 seconds lifetime best.
That time has only been bettered by Amusan’s 12.12 seconds world record this year.
In Zurich, Amusan proved her class and lived up to new status as world champion as she outran the entire field which included Camacho-Quinn to successfully defend her title.
The reigning World 100m hurdles champion acknowledged the pressure she was in at the post-race presser and hinted her best is definitely yet to come.
Culled From Complete Sports