Tobi Amusan was made for the top. And though she’s not always had it easy, she’s been able to consistently surmount the hurdles on her path and used them as stepping stones to greatness.
Since making her debut for Nigeria a year after she got into track and field, at the 2013 African Youth Athletics Championships (AYAC) held in Warri, Nigeria, winning a Silver medal in the 200 and Bronze in the Long Jump, the hurdler has remained consistent.
By 2015, she was on an entirely different level as she struck GOLD at the African U-20 Championships held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Even more impressive was how she carried that form to her first African Games held in Brazzaville and held her own against her more experienced counterparts, sailing to new Personal Best (PB) of 13.11s in the heats and then snatching the GOLD in 13.15s.
Amusan’s career witnessed a meteoric rise when she relocated to the US on a scholarship to the University of Texas EL Paso (UTEP). She won the Conference USA Indoor Championships and went on to break her PB to 12.83s at the UTEP Invitational. Making her maiden appearance the NCAA Championships, the African Games Champion gave a good account of herself to finish with a Silver medal.
Heading to the World U-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Amusan was one of the favourites for the title. She easily dominated her heat and semifinals. However, the final did not go according to plan and the Nigerian had to settle for fifth. Though disappointed with the result, Amusan shrugged it off to compete at the Rio Olympics where she made the semis.
2017 was a big year for her. Though the season started on a somewhat shaky note with a 6th place finish over the 60m Hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Amusan was in formidable form at the outdoors and went unbeaten in all of her races within the circuit, culminating in GOLD at the NCAA Championships, equalling her lifetime best of 12.57s.
She bowed out of her first World Championships in London in the semis, but bounced back stronger in 2018! Having gone pro, the talented athlete competed in a couple of races outside the NCAA indoor circuit and made her World Indoors debut in Birmingham where she finished 7th.
Amusan went on to represent Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia – her first time at the Games. Amusan was undoubtedly in a class of her own and practically dominated the event, storming to GOLD in 12.68s just 0.03s off the Games Record (GR) of 12.65s set by Jamaica’s Brigitte Foster-Hylton at the 2006 edition of the Games in Melbourne, to deny the then World Champion Danielle Williams the title.
She also made history by becoming the first Nigerian female hurdler to win GOLD at the Games. She added a relay Bronze in the women’s 4x100m, partnering with Joy Udo-Gabriel, Rosemary Chukwuma and Blessing Okagbare to finish on the podium in the event, behind England and Jamaica.
She would go on to win her first African Championships GOLD in Asaba, Nigeria, and claimed another in the women’s 4x100m.
‘Tobi Amusan’s Top 5 Track Moments’ is a five-part series highlighting the major achievements of Nigeria’s only World Champion and World Record holder in Track and Field – Tobi Amusan – even as she gets set to defend her world title at the ongoing World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Here’s Part 2 of the series.