Reigning Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles queen, Tobiloba Amusan is set for her first feel of the tartan track at the Khalifa International Stadium when the 2019 IAAF Diamond League begins its 14-leg journey in Doha, Qatar on Friday, Completesports.com reports.
The Nigerian is listed among the nine sprint hurdlers that will battle for the $10,000 top prize money and eight points on offer for the first ranked athlete.
The petite hurdler made her debut in the money-spinning competition last year at the Golden Gala in Rome where she ran 12.86 seconds to place fourth. She successfully scaled a few more hurdles to qualify for the final at the AG Memorial Van Damme in Brussels, running 12.69 seconds, her second fastest time last season to place fourth behind the USA duo of Mcneal Brianna (12.61), Kendra Harrison (12.63) and Danielle Williams (12.64), the Jamaican whom the Nigerian outran to win gold in Gold Coast at the Commonwealth Games.
Amusan will have two of the three athletes who denied her a ‘podium’ place in Belgium to contend with on Friday in the form of Brianna and Williams.
While Amusan will be hoping for a glorious debut in Doha, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor will be aiming for her first win on her seventh visit.
The reigning African 200m record holder is yet to win in Doha in six appearances with three second place finishes her best efforts over the 100m and long jump.
She placed second in the long jump with a wind-aided leap of 7.14m in 2013 and was second twice over the 100m, first in 2014 when she ran 11.18 seconds behind Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pyrce (11.13) and last year when she broke 10 seconds for the first time in Doha with her incredible 10.90 seconds run bettered only by Marie-Jose Ta Lou’s world leading 10.85 seconds run.
The Nigerian 2014 Commonwealth Games double sprint champions will take inspiration from her bolt-out-of-the blue outdoor opener last year in Abilene, Texas, USA where she raced to a 22.04 seconds world lead over the distance, a mark that stood as the world best for five months before Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith smashed the British record with her incredible 21.89 seconds run to win the gold medal at the European Championships in Berlin, Germany.
By Dare Esan