Tobi Amusan’s long wait for a global medal materialised on the last day of the World Championships in Oregon as she became Africa’s first ever GOLD medallist in the women’s 100m Hurdles, destroying the field for the second consecutive time on the day to cross the line 1st with a scorching 12.06s (+2.5m/s) which would have been her second World Record (WR) of the evening but for the excess wind.
Following her phenomenal heroics in the semis where she stunned everyone including herself to clock an astonishing WR of 12.12s, it was clear to all and sundry that the Nigerian meant business and the GOLD was hers to lose.
At the sound of the gun, Amusan exploded out of the blocks and left no margin for error, running clear of former WR holder Kendra Harrison after the 4th hurdle. Jamaican Britany Anderson tried to keep up with the 2021 Diamond Trophy winner and was rewarded for her efforts with the Silver in 12.23s, as Olympic Champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn settled for Bronze with the same time.
It’s been a magical night for Amusan who has made history several times over and is now Nigeria’s first and only World Champion in Athletics. Following in the footsteps of former African Record (AR) holder Glory Alozie who became the first Nigerian and African to win a medal in the 100m Hurdles at the World Championships, a feat she achieved in Sevilla in 1999 where she claimed Silver with the former AR of 12.44s, Amusan has now gone one step better with her historic GOLD medal.
The World Championships in Oregon is Amusan’s third appearance at the biennial competition after she made her debut in London in 2017 where she made the semis, and then finished 4th in the final in Doha two years later. She also placed 4th at the Tokyo Olympics.
She first broke Alozie’s AR at the final leg of the Wanda Diamond League in Zurich last year, becoming the first ever Nigerian and first African hurdler to win the Diamond League trophy.
The multiple-time continental champion is one of only three athletes to have set WRs in Oregon, joining an exclusive class that includes USA’s Sydney McLaughlin (400m Hurdles) and Sweden’s Armand Duplantis (Pole vault). Athletes who set WRs will be eligible for a special award of $100,000 offered by TDK and World Athletics’ #WeGrowAthletics initiative.
Amusan’s GOLD medal is the continent’s 10th hurdles medal at the World Championships. Samuel Matete of Zambia became Africa’s first medallist in the hurdles when he struck GOLD in the 400m Hurdles at the 1991 edition in Tokyo and took Silver in 1993 and 1995 respectively. South Africa’s Llewellyn Herbert won 400m Hurdles Silver in 1997 while Morrocan track star Nezha Bidouane won women’s 400m Hurdles GOLD in 1997 and 2001 respectively. Alozie won her 100m Hurdles Silver in 1999, L.J Van Zyl took 400m Hurdles Bronze in 2011 while the late Nicholas Bett emerged 400m Hurdles World Champion in 2015.