Stakeholders and former athletes hold a strong belief that Tobi Amusan, the dethroned women’s 100m hurdles world champion, will make a triumphant comeback despite her inability to secure her world title defense at the 19th World Championships held in Budapest, Hungary, according to a report by SUNDAY PUNCH.
Amusan’s grip on the women’s 100m hurdles crown slipped away as Jamaica’s Danielle Williams claimed victory on Thursday, leaving Amusan to settle for sixth place in the final.
The Nigerian athlete faced a temporary suspension from competition in July by the Athletics Integrity Unit due to missing three whereabouts tests. She was eventually cleared to compete just two days before the commencement of the World Championships in Budapest.
Deji Aliu, a retired sprinter and Olympic bronze medalist, expressed how the provisional suspension took a toll on Amusan during the Budapest event. Aliu, a gold medalist at the African Games, emphasized Amusan’s resilience and the challenges she overcame to qualify for the final. He called for unwavering support to aid her preparation for the upcoming Olympics and expressed confidence in her ability to regain her peak performance, thus bringing pride to Nigeria.
Sunday Adeleye, former Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, shared the sentiment that Amusan would recover from this setback. He acknowledged the difficulty of defending a world title and emphasized the importance of support to help her surpass her past achievements.
Drawing parallels to situations in international athletics, Adeleye highlighted how figures like Michelle Obama stood by athletes facing challenges. He underlined Amusan’s significance as Nigeria’s sole world champion and record holder, urging the nation to rally behind her.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnian Herzegovina, Modupe Irele, offered encouragement to Amusan. Irele noted that her world record remained unbroken and encouraged Amusan to glean lessons from the championships. She emphasized the uniqueness of each competition and expressed hope that Amusan would eventually break her own records.
Amusan herself assured the Nigerian public of an improved performance at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Reflecting on their efforts in Budapest, she acknowledged that while the results might not have met expectations, the upcoming Olympics held promise for better outcomes. She extended gratitude to the Nigerian government and citizens for their support of athletics and affirmed her commitment to uplifting the spirits of her compatriots through her achievements.
Looking ahead, the 26-year-old athlete aims to defend her title at the Diamond League in Oregon, USA, next month. She currently shares the top spot in the Diamond League standings with Nia Ali. With only one race left before the final, Amusan is focused on the opportunity to secure her third consecutive Diamond League women’s 100m hurdles title, a feat achieved only by Dawn Nelson-Harper of the USA.