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Nigeria’s Girls Shine At World Athletics Championships

Tobi Amusan Shatters World Record Twice, Ese Brume Takes Silver, 4×100 Relay Team Sets New African Record Set 30Yrs Ago

BENJAMIN OMOIKE

Team Nigeria’s girls who participated at the just-concluded World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, USA, put up a scintillating performance in their various track and field events, which ensured that the nation’s participation was not in vain.

Tobi Amusan became the first Nigerian athlete to win a World Athletics Championship gold as she stormed to victory in the women’s 100m hurdles on Sunday.

Tobi Amusan after she won the 100m hurdles final

Amusan, who had obliterated the world record in an astonishing semi-final where she clocked 12.12sec, powered over the line at Hayward Field in 12.06sec.

Her winning time will not be recognised as a world record, however, due to a strong following win of 2.5 metres per second.

Jamaica’s Britany Anderson took silver in 12.23sec, while Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico claimed bronze in 12.23.

Amusan had produced a jaw-dropping world record in the semi-finals, smashing the previous best mark of 12.20secs held by Keni Harrison of the United States in 2016.

“Honestly, I believe in my abilities but I was not expecting a world record at these championships,” Amusan said after her final victory. “The goal is always just to execute well and get the win. So the world record is a bonus. I knew I had it in me but I could not believe it when I saw it on the screen after the semis.

“Before the final, I just tried to stay calm and to do my best. I took a deep breath knowing that I have some goal to accomplish and it worked pretty good. I knew it was very fast but not this fast.”

Harrison had been left in Amusan’s slipstream in the semi, and was again shown a clean pair of heels by the Nigerian in the final.

Amusan got off to a scorching start and was smoothly into her stride after the first hurdle, building a clear lead and then pulling away ahead of Anderson and the fast-closing Camacho-Quinn.

In the long jump event, Ese Brume leaped 7.02m to win Silver and Nigeria’s second medal on the last day of the Championships.

Ese Brine won the silver medal in the long jump category

Brume’s consistency had made her one of Nigeria’s medal hopefuls heading into the Championships. She barely made it into the final with her last attempt to book an automatic qualification spot.

The Silver medal is an improvement on the Bronze she won in Doha in 2019. Brume, Olympic Bronze medallist, finished behind Germany’s Olympic champion Malaika Mihambo, who leaped 7.12m. Brazil’s Leticia Oro Melo jumped 6.89m to take Bronze.

Brume is expected to be in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games and will attempt to reclaim the Gold she won in 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. She missed the 2018 eiditon in Gold Coast, Australia.

Similarly, Nigeria’s women relay team broke a 30-year-old African Record at the event. The previous African Record was held by another set of Nigerians who competed at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

The Nigerian quartet broke the Women’s 4x100m event, but emerged fourth at the finals

The record was broken by the quartet of Joy Udo-Gabriel, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma and Grace Nwokocha, who ran the race of their lives early Sunday morning in the final of the women’s 4x100m event at the ongoing World Championships in Oregon.

They posted a time of 42.22s to break the long-standing 42.39s National/African Record set by their compatriots, Christy Opara-Thompson, Faith Idehen, Beatrice Utondu and Mary Onyali, at the Barcelona 92 Olympics, where Nigeria ended with a Bronze medal.

Udo-Gabriel, whose inclusion in the team was questioned by some critics, shut her critics up for the umpteenth time with a well-executed first leg race before handing over to Ofili who sustained the momentum.

Then it was the turn of Chukwuma for the third leg and she did well before handing over to Nwokocha who finished off brilliantly.

Unfortunately, despite their record-breaking race, the Nigerian ladies still did not make it to the podium as they finished fourth behind the United States who won with a fast time of 41.14s.

Jamaica and Germany finished second and third respectively.

Sunday was the first time in 11 years that the Nigeria women’s relay team participated in the final of the World Championships.

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