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Amusan Looks To Make Diamond League History In Zurich

Amusan Looks To Make Diamond League History In Zurich

Reigning African and Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles queen Tobiloba Amusan will be hoping to become the first Nigerian, man or woman, to be crowned Diamond League champion when she files out Thursday evening for the final of the sprint hurdles at the Weltklasse in Zurich, Switzerland.

Amusan has been drawn in lane three of what experts have called an open final following the absence of reigning Olympics champion, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico, world record holder, Kendra Harrisson of the USA and the injured Jamaican Danille Williams.

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The petite sprint hurdler is thus considered as one of the leading contenders to be crowned the 2021 “Diamond League Champion” and be awarded a Diamond Trophy. The winner will also win a USD 30,000 in prize money as well as getting a wild card for next year’s World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA.

For Amusan’s mission to be successful, she needs to overcome the human hurdles led by Netherland’s Nadine Visser who edged the Nigerian to the top prize in Brussels last week albeit both clocked 12.69 seconds and Jamaica’s Megan Tapper who is the joint second fastest in the field this year (12.53s) with USA’s Cunningham Gabriele and Sember Cindy of Great Britain.

Amusan is the fastest in the field with 12.48 seconds and early this week (Sunday) ran 12.64 seconds to win at the LOTTO Silesia Memoriał Kamili Skolimowskiej in Chorzów, Poland ahead of Tapper (12.75s), the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist to signify her readiness to make history in Zurich.

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The 24 year old Amusan is making her first trip to the Lezigrund stadion in Zurich, a ground where an illustrious Nigerian athlete set an African record in the 1980s while another announced his arrival as a sprinter to reckon with in the world in the 1990s.

Innocent Egbunnike ran 44.17 seconds at the Lezigrund stadion to set a new African 400m record in August 1987 while Seun Ogunkoya defeated the great Frankie Fredericks at the same ground 11 years later in 1998, running a new 9.96 seconds personal best.

Interestingly, both Egbunike and Ogunkoya remain the known Nigerian athletes who have won in Zurich with Charity Opara and Blessing Okagbare comig close with second place finishes.

Falilat Ogunkoya is the first Nigerian pre-Diamond League era (Golden League) to be crowned champions of IAAF (now World Athletics) elite one day meetings discipline when she ran 49.73 seconds to defeat compatriot, Charity Opara (50.09s) to win 400m event at the Grand Prix Final in Moscow, Russia in 1998. That year she was crowned the best quartermiler in the world and joint fourth best in the overall women category.

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