By Dare Esan:
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Petite sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan, is on the verge of making history as the first Nigerian, man or woman, to win a sprint hurdles title at the Commonwealth Games, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Amusan, the reigning American Collegiate 100m hurdles queen, will race to glory at the Carara Stadium Friday afternoon if she can scale over the two Jamaican hurdles that will be placed on her path in the Gold Coast 2018 final.
The two hurdles are in the form of Danielle Williams,the 2015 IAAF World Champions whose best finish at the Games was fourth four years ago at the 20th edition in Glasgow,Scotland and Yanique Thompson.
Williams, 25, will be on paper the Nigerian’s toughest hurdle to scale. She is the third fastest sprint hurdler in the world so far this year courtesy the 12.69 seconds she returned in the first semi-final on Thursday. She also holds a 12.56 seconds personal best which she ran last year.In 2015 she ran 12.57 seconds to win her only major global title, the IAAF Worlds in Beijing, China.
Thompson, 22, on the other hand can spring a surprise.She ran 12.95 seconds behind Williams in the first semi-final and holds a 12.69 seconds personal best which she achieved at the Jamaican championships last year.
Amusan, still only 20 holds a 12.73 seconds personal season’s best which she effortlessly ran to win the first semi-final on Thursday. She holds a personal best of 12.57 seconds which she ran to win the NCAA title in Eughene, USA last year.
If she holds off the threat that the two Jamaicans will pose,she will become Nigeria’s first gold medallist in track and field at the on-going games; Nigeria’s first ever in the event and become the third Nigerian woman to make it to the podium after Modupe Oshikoya (bronze) did in 1974 and Angela Atiede (bronze) in 2002 in Manchester.
Amusan holds the record of the fastest Nigerian sprint hurdler at the Games following the 12.73 seconds she ran in the semis to qualify for today’s final.Only Atiede had before the Games at the Gold Coast broken 13 seconds in the event courtesy of the 12.98 seconds she ran to win the bronze medal in Manchester.