Diamond League Final: Tobi Amusan smashes African 100m hurdles record
Tokyo Olympics finalist Tobiloba ‘Tobi’ Amusan, on Thursday night, at the final of the 2021 Diamond League Final, scorched to a new 12.42 seconds African record to win the 100m hurdles Diamond Trophy at the Weltklasse in Zurich, Switzerland.
The 24-year-old also made history in the process as she became the first Nigerian to be crowned Diamond League champion since World Athletics’ elite one day meetings changed name from Golden League to Diamond League.
Overall, she is the second Nigerian to win a World Athletics elite one day meetings discipline after Falilat Ogunkoya, who was crowned 400m champion at the Grand Prix final held in Moscow, Russia in 1998.
Amusan has also become the third Nigerian to win at the Lezigrund stadion, venue of the highly rated Weltklasse Diamond League meeting, after Innocent Egbunike and Seun Ogunkoya.
Interestingly, Amusan has become the second Nigerian to set a new African record at the meeting after Egbunike ran 44.17 seconds to set an African 400m record at the time.
Amusan’s 12.42 seconds is two hundredths of a second faster than the 12.44 seconds Glory Alozie ran in Monaco in 1998 and the reigning African champion has now broken two of the three Nigerian and African records held by Alozie.
She smashed Alozie’s 12.74 seconds African Games record twice two years ago in Rabat, Morocco, running 12.69 in the semi-final heat before improving by one hundredth of a second to 12.68 seconds.
Last year in Karlsruhe, Germany the petite Amusan went close to breaking the 7.82 seconds 60m hurdles indoor record held by Alozie when she stormed to a 7.84 seconds to win at the World Indoor Tour event.
Amusan would also have broken the Nigerian championships 100m hurdles record of 12.63 seconds held by Angela Atiede if the electronic timer had not malfunctioned at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Trials at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Ground last June. She was credited with a hand-timed 12.30 for her effort.
The Nigerian has not only been crowned the 2021 Diamond League Champion, she has also won the $30,000 top prize money on offer.
Amusan says she was determined to make up for her inability to make the podium in Tokyo and feels happy to have made history.
”It’s great, it is a great feeling. Looking back, I did not win a medal at the Olympics. It was a very challenging time for me afterwards, but I never gave up, and I came out here and I was like… if I did not get a medal in Tokyo, the least I can do is to get a Diamond League Trophy – I did just that,” said an excited Amusan.
“The hurdles event is a very mental event and my coach is always telling me I need to focus on myself and execute. Once you execute, you don’t have a problem going over the hurdles. I’m glad I came out with a win. I have one more meeting in Zagreb, and I can go take the season off. I am really looking forward to it.”
Amusan defeated Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper who could only settle for another third place finish (12.55s) behind Netherland’s Naddine Visser who ran 12.51 seconds to place second.
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