EUGENE, Pray. – First she set the record. Then he won the medal.
Even if the order was awkward, Sunday night at the world championships was beautiful for Nigerian hurdler Tobi Amusan.
He won the 100m hurdles title some 90 minutes after he opened the final session of the championships by breaking the world record in his semi-final heat with a time of 12.12 seconds.
“When I saw the puck, I was like, ‘Whoa, who did that?'” Amusan said of his reaction to seeing his time appear on the scoreboard.
It’s been a strange sequence of events for the 25-year-old, who finished fourth at the Tokyo Games last year and fourth at the final 2019 worlds, and now has a place in history as champion, record holder and major. character on a most unusual night.
The mark beat the six-year record held by American Keni Harrison by .08.
“Unbelievable,” said Switzerland’s Noemi Zbaren, who watched the disc while waiting for her own semi-final. “I had goosebumps when I saw him in the call room.”
Back on track for the final, Amusan won the gold medal in an even faster time: 12.06 seconds, but the wind was too strong, so he did not lower another record.
For the previous race, he received a bonus of $100,000 for marking the worlds.
It’s rare, but not unheard of, for a track athlete to set a record before the biggest race. Florence Griffith-Joyner ran her record 10.49 in the 100 meters in a preliminary event at the 1988 Olympic trials.
“I believe in my abilities, but I didn’t expect a world record at these championships,” Amusan said. “The goal is always to execute well and get the win.”
Amusan went to college in Texas El-Paso. A person familiar with his career told The Associated Press that he had been training partners with another Nigerian UTEP alumnus, Blessing Okagbare.
Okagbare is serving an 11-year sentence for multiple doping violations stemming from a federal investigation into an El Paso doctor accused of distributing human growth hormone and other banned substances.
The person who provided the information to the AP spoke on condition of anonymity because Amusan is not connected to that case.
After her history-making night, there was nothing but appreciation for the new brand and new world champion.
“I know what Tobi has been through over the years. She’s been fourth twice,” Jamaica’s Danielle Williams said. “I know it’s not an easy position. She was close to throwing in the towel. To see her come out here and do this right now, it’s amazing.”
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