Tobi Amusan became the first Nigerian athlete to win a World Athletics Championship gold as she stormed to victory in the women’s 100m hurdles in Oregon on Sunday.
Amusan, who had obliterated the world record in an astonishing semi-final where she clocked 12.12sec, powered over the line at Hayward Field in 12.06sec.
The South-West Nigerian winning time will not be recognised as a world record, however, due to a strong following win of 2.5 metres per second.
The 25-year-old, who ran a new African record of 12.40 seconds in Saturday’s heats, clocked 12.12 seconds.
Her time beat the 12.20 seconds set by American Kendra Harrison, who finished second behind Amusan, in 2016.
Jamaica’s Britany Anderson took silver in 12.23sec, while Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico claimed bronze in 12.23.
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Amusan had produced a jaw-dropping world record in the semi-finals, smashing the previous best mark of 12.20secs held by Keni Harrison of the United States in 2016.
“Honestly, I believe in my abilities but I was not expecting a world record at these championships,” Amusan said after her final victory. “The goal is always just to execute well and get the win. So the world record is a bonus. I knew I had it in me but I could not believe it when I saw it on the screen after the semis.
“Before the final, I just tried to stay calm and to do my best. I took a deep breath knowing that I have some goal to accomplish and it worked pretty good. I knew it was very fast but not this fast.”
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Harrison had been left in Amusan’s slipstream in the semi, and was again shown a clean pair of heels by the Nigerian in the final.
Amusan got off to a scorching start and was smoothly into her stride after the first hurdle, building a clear lead and then pulling away ahead of Anderson and the fast-closing Camacho-Quinn.
Great Britain’s Cindy Sember finished fourth in the semi-final won by Amusan but qualified for the final with a new British record of 12.50, beating sister Tiffany Porter’s 2014 mark by one hundredth of a second.
It was one of four national records, excluding Amusan, run in the semi-finals with another seven athletes equalling or breaking their personal bests.
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“That was a crazy race. I actually thought I was running slow. Tobi was amazing, I can’t deny,” said Sember.