Tobi Amusan, the world record holder, secured her spot in the 100 metres hurdles final at the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Despite a slow start from Lane 7, the reigning champion made a breathtaking comeback, executing a last-minute dip that propelled her to victory in the semifinals with a remarkable time of 12.56 seconds.
Amusan’s triumph came after a fierce battle against a formidable lineup, which included Masai Russell from the United States, Luca Kozak of Hungary, Ackera Nugent from Jamaica, and Celeste Mucci of Australia.
Claiming the second spot, Jamaica’s Ackera Nugent finished the race in 12.60 seconds, while Masai Russell of the U.S. faced an unfortunate stumble on the second and third hurdles, preventing her from completing the race.
This outcome leaves her as the sole remaining medal hopeful for Nigeria at the championship, as Ese Brume’s pursuit of a podium position in the women’s long jump event on Sunday concluded with a fourth-place finish.
As Tobi Amusan secures her place in her third consecutive final, all eyes are now on her in anticipation of a repeat victory in today’s final. Eager to replicate her previous success, Amusan, hailing from Ogun State, Nigeria, aims to defend her World title, which she proudly earned in Oregon, United States, just last year.
In a recent development, Alaba Akintola, the U.S.-based sprinter, secured a spot in the second round of the 200m event with a commendable performance. Akintola finished third in Heat Seven, clocking an impressive time of 20.45 seconds. Notably, the Tennessee-based sprinter holds a personal best time of 20.26 seconds and a season’s best time of 20.43 seconds. His advancement was aided by the disqualification of France’s Ryan Zeze during the race.
Continuing on the track, the men’s 200m heat competition remains ongoing.
Another accomplishment surfaced on Wednesday as Favour Ofili, based in the U.S., clinched a second consecutive 200m semifinal berth. She secured her position by completing the first round with a time of 22.66 seconds, making her one of the six non-automatic qualifiers. Ofili’s remarkable performance positioned her fourth in her initial round heat, with her time emerging as the second fastest she has achieved in the outdoor season.
Ofili holds the distinction of Nigeria’s 200m indoor record (22.11) and outdoor record (21.96). Her journey towards the final hinges on replicating her impressive times, particularly needing to come close to her 21.96 seconds lifetime best and Nigerian record. Last year’s semifinal exit at the 22.30 seconds mark has evidently fueled her determination.
In the upcoming semifinal, Ofili faces a challenging task as she contends with a formidable lineup. Her competitors include defending champion Shericka Jackson of Jamaica, Marie-Jose Talou of Cote d’Ivoire, and the 100m champion Shar Carri Richardson of the U.S., who set a lifetime best of 21.94 seconds this season.
It’s noteworthy that Ofili’s achievement adds her name to the list of distinguished Nigerian athletes who have reached the semifinals in this event. This select group includes Mary Onyali (1987, 1993, 1997, 2001, and 2003), Fatimah Yusuf (1999), Mercy Nku (2003), Blessing Okagbare (2013 and 2019), and Rosemary Chukwuma (2022).