Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan earlier on Monday, July 25, 2022 was reported to have set a World Record, twice, to win the 100m hurdles in style at the World Championships.
Her victory and another great performance by Ese Brume implies that after laboring all week long with nothing reasonable to show for their efforts, Team Nigeria ended their campaign at the World Championships in Oregon on an amazing note; winning a gold and a silver medal on the final day of action.
Tobi Amusan set the World Record twice before she was announced the world champion in the 100m hurdles while Brume had to dig deep for her silver in the long jump.
Early Life & Education
Born on the 23rd of April 1997, in Ijebu Ode, located in Ogun state, Nigeria, Oluwatobiloba Amusan is a well known Nigerian athlete. After she completed her secondary school education, she started her early life as an athlete.
Amusan displayed a lot of athletic potential from an early age. She was a silver medallist at the 2013 African Youth Championships in Warri. She also received gold in the 100 meters hurdles at the 2015 African Junior Athletics Championships in Addis Ababa. In 2015, while making her All-Africa Games debut as an eighteen year old, she won the gold medal in the 100 meters hurdles.
In 2016, as a freshman at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Tobi Amusan became the second athlete for the university to be called C-USA Female Track Athlete of the Year since UTEP joined C-USA. She was the gold medallist in both the 100 mH and the 200 m. She also received a silver in the long jump at the C-USA Championships.
Amusan first broke the 13s barrier in the hurdles with a time of 12.83s at the El Paso UTEP Invitational. This outshined Kim Turner’s 100 mH UTEP record which had remained for 33 years. She was runner-up at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100 mH. She ran a windy 12.79s behind Kentucky’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. Amusan also competed at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz. Despite running her second fastest time ever, she came fifth in the final. She went on to represent Nigeria at the Rio Olympic Games, reaching the semifinals of the 100 mH.
In her first outdoor race of 2017, Amusan ran a then lifetime best and UTEP record of 12.63s in the 100 meters hurdles. She was the C-USA champion in her specialist event and also the runner up in the 200 meters. At the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships, there was a reversal of finishes in the 100 meters hurdles. In a dramatic race, Amusan claimed the title ahead of Camacho-Quinn who was the champion the previous year. She did this in a personal record time of 12.57s. She also represented Nigeria at the World Championships in London later in the year.
She ran a personal best of 7.89s in the 60 meters hurdles at the start of her 2018 season. She went on to represent her country at the Birmingham World Indoor Championships reaching the final of the 60 meters hurdles.
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams seemed to be the favorite to take the title in the absence of Sally Pearson. In the final however, Amusan moved ahead of her competitors and won the race by a clear meter ahead of Williams. She also won a bronze medal in the 4 x 100m relay with her teammates, Joy Udo-Gabriel, Blessing Okagbare and Rosemary Chukwuma. Later in the year, she won her first African Championships title in her specialist event at the Asaba African Championships. This fulfilled a Nigerian tradition as Judy Bell-Gam had won this race for Nigeria at the first African Championships. She also claimed a gold medal in the 4 x 100 m relay at the championships.
On October 5, 2019, at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, she ran a personal best of 12.48s during the 100 meters hurdles qualifying rounds. In the semi-finals the following day, she equaled this personal best before placing 4th a few hours later in the final with 12.49s.
Amusan came fourth in the Tokyo Olympics with a time of 12.60s. She later competed in the Zurich Diamond League event, which she won in 12.42s, becoming the first Nigerian to win a Diamond League trophy.
Amusan opened her 2022 season by winning the 2022 Diamond League event in Paris, were she set an African record by 0.01s with a time of 12.41s.
She won gold in the 100m hurdles at the 2022 African Championships in Mauritius, defending her title successfully with a time of 12.57s ( wind-aided). She also competed in the women’s 4×100m and won gold.
Later in 2022, she competed in a Diamond League meet, coming second with a time of 12.60s, behind olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn.
2022 World Championships
Amusan entered the 2022 World Championships as a medal contender after back-to-back 4th place finishes. In the heats she ran a new personal best of 12.40s, bettering her old record by 0.01s. In the semifinal she set a new world record of 12.12s. She bested her time once again in the final, running 12.06s (wind assisted, so not recognized as a world record), becoming the first Nigerian to win a world title.
Positivity and personal belief
On November 8, 2016, at about 7 a.m Texas time, Oluwatobiloba Amusan posted on Twitter, “Unknown now, but ? I will be UNFORGETTABLE … I will Persist until I SUCCEED ….”
In 2017, Amusan said to Making of Champions, “at this moment, Kendra [Harrison] owns the record and I don’t have any but she doesn’t have two heads. It will be good for me to run a PR or break the world record if she is not careful–just kidding…”
In 2020, Amusan mused on Twitter, “My coach taught me that when I walk into a room full of my rivals to look like I own the damn world record. She always reminds me that I’ve practiced hard to trust myself and translate that aggressiveness onto the track.”
Two years later, there is no joke about the fact that Amusan is a world champion and a record breaker. If not for a tailwind of 2.5m/s, we would talk about a historical event that may never occur again. One thing that comes through is that Amusan always believed she could become the best in the world in the 100m Hurdles, and eventually, her belief came to reality.