8. Aminatou Seyni
After enduring a scanty 2021 season where she raced in only two competitions, the Tokyo Olympics and the Kip Keino Classics, as she tried to navigate her transition from the 400m to the 200m, 2022 was the year Aminatou Seyni took no prisoners, underlining her status as a world class 200m athlete while not faring badly in the 100m either.
Her first 200m race of the year was in France where she clocked 24.51s. She then secured her first major victory over the distance at the Kip Keino Classic, racing to a Personal Best (PB) of 22.43s to finish ahead of USA’s duo of Shannon Ray and Dezerea Bryant. She thereafter competed in a couple of meets in France and then flew to Ostrava for the Golden Spike Meet.
Seyni’s performance in Ostrava was an announcement to the rest of the world that she had truly come of age as she outclassed a quality field that included Allyson Felix (22.78s) who placed 2nd, with Vittoria Fontana settling for 3rd with a PB of 22.97s. Seyni clocked a new National Record (NR) of 22.21s in the race.
She headed for the African Championships in Mauritius in good spirits and was absolutely dominant in the 200m, winning all her races and storming to GOLD with a time of 23.04s under less than perfect conditions as it rained almost all through the competition. She also claimed Silver (11.09s) in the 100m behind Gambia’s Gina Bass, an offshoot of her impressive performance in the heats where she set an NR of 11.07s to win her race.
Making her second appearance at the World Championships, Seyni competed in the sprint double. Over the 100m, she finished 3rd in her heat and 5th in her semifinal race, missing out on qualifying for the final. She then shifted her attention to her stronger event, the 200m. In her first race over the half-lap event, the Nigerien left nothing to chance as she was drawn alongside the super talented Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. She went all out and was rewarded with a victory and NR of 21.98s, ranking her 3rd on the all-time African list, only behind Christine Mboma (21.78s) and Favour Ofili (21.96s).
In the semis, she finished 2nd to eventual winner Shericka Jackson with her time of 22.04s. Seyni would narrowly miss out on a podium finish in 4th place as Fraser-Pryce and Dina Asher-Smith claimed Silver and Bronze respectively. Her co-competitors will certainly be on the lookout for Seyni next season as she aims to win her first global medal.