Nigeria’s Oluwatobiloba Amusan had something to cheer about at the climax of her 2021 season, becoming the first Nigerian athlete in history to win a Diamond League Trophy, storming to victory in the women’s 100m Hurdles in Zurich.

Not just becoming the first Nigerian to win a Diamond League Title,  Amusan did it in style shattering Glory Alozie’s African Record (AR) of 12.44s and running a new Personal Best and AR of 12.42s (+0.4) to win the race.

An uncontrollable Amusan, draped in the Nigerian flag couldn’t contain her emotions, letting it all out on the track, seeing that she has become the fastest African athlete in history, a dream she has been longing for.

Racing against Netherlands’ Nadine Visser for the second the time in one week, Amusan made sure she got the better of her Dutch rival this time around, after both were hardly inseparable when they met in Brussels clocking an identical 12.69s.

Amusan emerged a clear winner, with Visser running a new National Record of 12.51s to finish 2nd, just as Jamaica’s Megan Taper settled for 3rd place in 12.55s, two-hundredths off her Personal Best of 12.53s which she ran in Tokyo.

This win was some sort of respite for Amusan who wept profusely after missing out on the podium in Tokyo, finishing 4th. There was a lot of consolation she could draw from the race, at least finally she now had the African Record having missed the opportunity to claim the honours during the Nigerian Olympic trials in June.

Tobi Amusan and Glory Alozie just before the former competed at the Nigerian Olympic Trials in June

The Ijebu-Ode born athlete had toiled all season for Alozie’s record of 12.44s which had stood for 23 years. In fact the omen was there at the Nigerian trials when she met Alozie for the first time a day before her race, but unfortunately she suffered an ignominy of not having the race timed.

Amusan had shown glimpses of what was coming and how she intended to end her season, when she dipped in at the same time as Visser in Brussels clocking 12.69s, but it was in Chorzow, Poland that she started exorcising the demons of two back-to-back podium misses at major championships.

That win helped her a great deal going into Zurich, and although her start wasn’t great as expected (her Achilles so far), Amusan wasn’t going to let this slip as she pulled away from the field to emerge victorious.

In 21 years since the Diamond League started, no Nigerian athlete has been able to win the prestigious trophy in any of the disciplines, which has been no easy feat to achieve by Amusan. She not only wins the trophy, she will get a prize reward of 30,000 Dollars.

Amusan has been on the periphery of a major championships medal since 2018 when she won GOLD at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. 4th place in Doha in 2019, 4th place in Tokyo last month, it’s understandable seeing her celebrate effusively after winning in Zurich.

All those disappointments have now somewhat been atoned for. She will get a deserved off-season rest, and come back in 2022 more recharged as she guns for a global medal. It is now within grasp.

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Very proficient in writing and talking about football, but has now found a new love in Athletics. Just a matter of time before I become a master on things pertaining to the tracks. Formerly the Content Manager-Sports at NigerianBulletin and Allsports, Christopher is now a Senior Sports writer at Making of Champions.

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