Tobi Amusan, a Nigerian track and field athlete, has set a new world record in the women’s 100m hurdles. The Nigerian starlet set the new world record and went on to win the women’s 100m hurdles final during the World Athletics Championships last night.
The Championship was hosted at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Her win gave the Nigerian team its only gold medal at that competition.
The 25-year-old broke the world record in the semifinals with a time of 12.12 seconds. Her time beats the 12.20 seconds set by American Kendra Harrison, who finished second behind Amusan, in 2016.
Two hours after setting the new world record in the semis, a highly motivated Amusan went on to win the gold medal for her country in the final.
Surprisingly, she ran even faster in the final (12.06s), but due to a strong tail wind this will not be registered as a record. Hence, her record in the semifinals will stand as the new official world record.
The new record holder could not hold back her tears as she was awarded her gold medal, bringing an end to a competition that was originally not going as planned for Nigeria.
The West African country had not won any medal since the start of the competition but had to wait until the final day to register two medals – a gold medal from Tobi Amusan, and a silver medal from long jumper Ese Brume.
Ese Brume led the field for a while with a 7.02m jump, until German (with Tanzanian roots) Malaika Mihambo bettered her on her fourth attempt (7.09m) and even went further on her last attempts (7.12m).
In what appears to be a twist of events, retired American sprinter Michael Johnson has come under huge criticism for his comments after Tobi Amusan broke the world record. Mr. Johnson won four Olympic gold medals and 8 World Championships gold medals during his active career.
After the race, he said via his verified Twitter handle that:
“I don’t believe 100h times are correct. World record broken by .08! 12 PBs set. 5 National records set. And Cindy Sember quote after her PB/NR ‘I throughly I was running slow!’ All athletes looked shocked.”
The statements did not go down well with Africans across the globe who accused him of bias and racism. Reacting to the criticism, he further went on to make another post saying:
“As a commentator my job is to comment. In questioning the times of 28 athletes (not 1 athlete) by wondering if the timing system malfunctioned, I was attacked, accused of racism, and of questioning the talent of an athlete I respect and predicted to win. Unacceptable. I move on.”