Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, president Tonobok Okowa says sprint hurdler Tobiloba Amusan’s African record setting run in the 100m hurdles at the Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday night has given Nigeria hope of challenging for a first ever gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon next month.
Amusan, 25, finished strongly in the race to win in 12.41 seconds, 0.02 better than her previous 12.42 seconds best which she ran last year to win the historic 100m hurdles at the Diamond League final in Zurich.
“Congratulations to Tobi who has continued to deliver for Nigeria at the top level of track and field in the world,” said the AFN president.
The reigning Commonwealth Games champion, fourth at the Olympics last year in Tokyo and at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar in 2019 looks capable of claiming her first global medal in Oregon as well as retain the Commonwealth title she won in 2018.
“Nigeria’s national anthem is yet to be sung at the flagship event of World Athletics, the World Championships and Tobi Amusan now looks ready to join Ese Brume, our sprinters and the relay teams in the bid to get Nigeria to the podium as world champion,” said Okowa.
Nigeria has won at least a global medal since Okowa was elected as AFN president in June last year and the trend looks set to continue in Oregon.
“Ese (Brume) won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. It was the first time since 2008 that Nigeria won a track and field medal at the quadrennial games. Tobi Amusan made history last year as the first Nigerian to win a Diamond League title and this year Ese got a silver in the long jump at the World Indoor championship, our first since Olusoji Fasuba won the 60m gold in Valencia, Spain in 2008.”
Okowa believes Nigeria is now taking her rightful place in global athletics and is confident the country’s rising profile will translate to podium appearances at global athletics championships and games.