Amusan’s Diamond League record thrills sports Minister, AFN boss

The Diamond League record by sprint hurdler, Oluwatobiloba Amusan, at the Weltklasse meeting in Zurich has sparked great excitement among top sports officials in Nigeria.

Amusan made history on Thursday, when she ran 12.42 seconds to break a 21-year-old African record (12.44s) to win the 100m hurdles in Zurich. She become the first Nigerian, man or woman to be crowned Diamond League champion. The previous record of 12.44s by Glory Alozie was set in 1999.

Amusan, who narrowly missed out on the medal’s table at the Tokyo Olympics, where she placed fourth in the 100m hurdles final, is expected to pocket $30,000 in prize money as well as getting a wild card for next year’s World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA.

Amusan has shown great composure and tenacity in all her races since the Tokyo Olympics. Before her Diamond League feat in Zurich, Amusan had emerged top at the Continental Tour Gold meeting at the Stadion Slaski in Chorzow, Poland on September 5.

She won the 100m Hurdles event with a time of 12.64s ahead of Olympic bronze medalist, Megan Tapper, who clocked 12.75. The USA’s Christina Clemons was third in 12.92.

Before then, Amusan had also claimed victory at the Citius Meeting, Bern, Switzerland in August, where she set a new Meet Record.

Her winning time at the Citius Meeting was 12.80s, ahead of Poland’s Klaudia Siciarz and Australia’s Clay Liz.

Amusan is the reigning African and Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles queen. Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, and the President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Tonobok Okowa were full of excitement over Amusan’s feat.

Dare described her achievement in Zurich as an icing on the cake of what has been an eventful and successful year for Nigeria despite the limitations posed by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

“Congratulations Tobi on your win at the Diamond League final. This is a perfect representative of what has been a roller coaster year for Nigerian athletes and the Federal Government is thrilled that our young ones are redefining who we really are at the global stage,” Dare stated yesterday.

The Sports Minister praised President Muhammadu Buhari for the huge support his ministry has been enjoying. “The successes we have achieved this year is a combination of the doggedness and never-say-die spirit of the Nigerian athletes as well as the effort we have put in as a ministry to redefine sports and its administration.

“We came in when we were at our lowest in terms of both the administration of sports and welfare of our athletes. For 13 years we were only able to win one medal at the Olympics and qualified five athletes for the final in two Olympics combined (2012 and 2016). In 2021, we achieved our best position since 2008, winning two medals and getting as many as five individual athletes in the final. This is the new beginning we craved for, and which we will surely build on” Dare stated.

On his part, the AFN President, Tonobok Okowa praised Amusan for her doggedness saying: “I am really happy for this wonderful feat by Tobi Amusan in Zurich. The AFN will continue to give our athletes the encouragement they need to succeed,” Okowa stated.

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