Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan has been listed by World Athletics as one of the contenders for the three 100m hurdles medals on offer at the on-going Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
In its preview of the sprint hurdles event on its website, the world governing body for track and field says the petite Nigerian can go a step further than her semifinal finish in her debut at the Games five years ago in Rio to become the second Nigerian to mount the podium in the event after Glory Alozie who raced to a silver medal finish 21 years ago in Sydney, Australia.
‘Tobi Amusan will head to Tokyo with plenty of motivation. The African champion produced the three fastest times of her career at the 2019 World Championships – 12.48, 12.48 and 12.49 – but ultimately finished just 0.02 shy of a medal in the final.
”She equalled her PB of 12.48 earlier this year and backed it up with wind-assisted marks of 12.43 and 12.44. Winner at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2019 African Games (where she set a new Games record), the 24-year-old already has plenty of major championships experience and reached the semifinals of the last Olympics as an U20 athlete. Now one of the best hurdlers in the world, this time Amusan will be in medal contention,’ wrote World Athletics on its website.
Meanwhile Amusan has revealed how she ended up as a hurdler albeit she was only interested in the sprint events at the outset.
”I started the hurdles by chance. I went to a meeting aged 13 or 14 intending to compete in the sprints and long jump only to realise by the time I arrived, the only event remaining on the programme was the hurdles. My coach encouraged me to enter and I ended up winning, which is how my hurdles journey began,’ Amusan said in a piece publihed on World Athletics website.
”I continued to do sprints and long jump for a time but also squeezed in one hurdles sessions a week – where I put cones and tyres down on the track to jump over because we had no hurdles in my home city.”
She would later focus full time after realising her ambitions would be tough to achieve in the sprints.
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”What propelled me into hurdling full-time was that it was tough to make national teams for the sprints, so I decided to enter the hurdles at the Nigerian Trials for the African Junior Championships. I won and I went to Ethiopia in 2015 100 percent focused on hurdles. I won African junior gold in Addis Ababa and from that point on there was no looking back – I was a hurdler.’
Amusan has no regret for dumbing the sprints for the hurdles which she describes as a unique event.
”The hurdles is such a spectacular and unique event – different to a regular sprinting event. For me, there are three phases in the hurdles, that first seven or eight strides which helps provide the foundation for your race. The next phase is the three strides between each of the hurdles and finally the mad dash to the finish line from the final hurdle.’
But, what does she really enjoy about the hurdles?
”I enjoy many components including that sweet sound of clearing the hurdles. The hurdles is a rhythm event and I love reaching that rhythmic state where your mind, body and soul is in total tune with the event.
”I like the fact that hurdles is such a technical event. When completing drills it requires total focus and discipline, components which shape you not only as an athlete but away from the track too.
”Hurdles requires problem solving skills – you need to be swift thinker. If you hit a hurdle you need to think what you need to do to quickly restore balance to get back into a good rhythm,’she said and confessed the event can make the proudest of persons to be humble.
”I also don’t think there is a track and field event which can teach humility quite like the sprint hurdles. You can be the fastest in the field but one mistake can spell the end for your race. A hurdler should never go into any race with any level of complacency or arrogance. It teaches you to be humble.
”Yet, I would also say with the hurdles there needs to be a certain fearlessness too. You cannot have a negative approach. You need to believe you will clear all of the hurdles and cross that finish line – and this is another reason I like the event so much.”Copyright © 2021 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.