Deji Ogeyingbo wrote this piece on Tobi Aumsan defending her 100-meter hurdle title at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. In this article, Deji Ogeyingbo sings the praises of the incredible Nigerian athlete, who won the African Champs, the World Champs and the Commonwealth Games all in one amazing summer!
Tobi Amusan continues to break barriers and adds another Commonwealth title to her glowing collection.
Sometimes in life, all you need is a sliding door moment. At that point, everything you touch would turn to Gold. In this case, literally and figuratively for Tobi Amusan. The Nigerian had always been lurking at the door of global championships for the better part of the last three years until she finally snapped Gold at the world championships in Oregon in July.
That moment proved pivotal for the Nigerian who had always played second fiddle to her compatriots at these Championships. But in the last month, something changed for Amusan. She improved a lot on her reaction time. It was what has seen her break barriers by lowering the world record to 12.12s and eventually putting daylight between herself and her competitors.
Prior to the 2022 season, Amusan had struggled with her start, one that usually leaves her with a lot of catching up to do in top races. And in a discipline like the sprint hurdles, the margins are very fine. Working on these little details could be the difference between finishing fourth at global championships and winning Gold.
Amusan also brushed up her top-end speed, especially between the fourth and sixth barriers. These two factors have contributed to her whirlwind rise in the space of one month as she lowered her Personal Best from 12.40 to 12.12. And, as expected, it came with many laurels.
The latest of the glowing list of collections Amusan is accumulating came inside the blue tartan track of the Alexandra stadium in Birmingham. The newly-minted World Record holder stormed to a new Games Record of 12.30s to defend the Commonwealth Race crown she won in Gold Coast four years ago.
In today’s final, her 0.126 reaction time was the joint-fastest in the field alongside Canada’s Michelle Harrison. It felt surreal, but the confidence Amusan went into the Games with must have given her the right momentum to steal a march on her rivals.
Compare that to her 0.218s reaction time off the blocks in the final of the World Championships in Doha in 2019. Amusan finished fourth with 12.49s, 0.02s behind bronze medallist Danielle Williams. It was heart-wrenching for her.
Amusan’s feet work allows her to hold her top speed later in the race. Similar to Devon Allen. But as Jamaica’s Megan Tapper and Australia’s Michelle Janneke began to put pressure on her on the third and fourth barriers, it was her much improved top-end speed of Amusan that put daylight between herself and the rest of the chasing park.
In the end, there was almost a two-meter gap between Amusan and Bahamas’ Devynne Charlton, who snagged Silver with 12.58s, with England’s Cindy Sember one-hundredth of a second behind in third.
Amusan is currently on a different planet at the moment. 12.40s, 12.12s,12.06s, 12.40s and 12.30s. Those are the results of her last five races in the span of a month. The time would have been enough to most world championships and a couple of Olympic Games. The tweak to the fine details of her race made all the difference.
Now, the Nigerian is just collecting medals. Two African games title in 2015 and 2019, two Commonwealth Games crown in 2018 and 2022, a Diamond League trophy, two African Championships Gold, and a World title. Surely, it’s just a matter of time before she adds the Olympic crown. Her eyes will be much fixed on Paris 2024. A win for her, and the collection will be complete.