Is Tobi Amusan the new Jackie Joyner-Kersee of Nigerian, or even world athletics? That’s the question on most sports analysts’ lips after the Nigerian broke a world record, set new ones and then broke them again at different venues in just a few months.
Just last Thursday in Zurich, Switzerland, the Nigerian once again set a new world record. Amusan effortlessly defended her Diamond League 100 mH title in a winning time of 12.29 seconds, breaking Gail Devers’ 22-year record. “God is faithful,” Amusan later told reporters after his victory in Zurich, attributing his winning streak and record achievements this year to the Almighty.
His coaches might see it differently, although they wouldn’t entirely dismiss divine intervention in Amusan’s successes on the field and on the track given his rigorous training regimen. She’s known for spending most of her time on the track, pushing herself to the limit like a Cristiano Ronaldo in training for a football match.
As an athlete, Joyner-Kersee won three Olympic golds, a silver and a bronze at four different venues in the long jump and heptathlon, prompting Sports Illustrated for Women to dub her the greatest female athlete of all time.
Admittedly, Amusan isn’t one yet, but based on her excellent performance so far, she could very well be one day. For now, however, the Nigerian athlete is in top form: she set a new African record at the Paris Meeting in June, broke her own record at the World Championships, won the Nigerian title and defended the African title in Mauritius.
The following month, the golden girl clinched the World Continental Tour gold medal and became world champion and world record holder. She stepped up her game in August and retained the Commonwealth Games title and also set a new Games record.
For now, after her spectacular performances in athletics, Amusan is cooling off her heels – read vacation – before resuming the life of a sporty woman. As a setter of new records, she will necessarily face athletes in competition. And then the 2024 Olympics are right around the corner.
Although most people doubted her from the start, like she wasn’t quite up to it, Amusan said she had to prove herself. “Everyone doubted me. I just had to prove to myself that I had it” and “I’m so grateful for this whole season. I’m full of emotions. Now vacation, rest, then back to training .
Amusan had become the African record holder beating American Tia Jones who finished second in 12.40s, Jamaican Britany Anderson who came third in 12.42s while Jasmine Camacho-Quinn finished the race fourth in 12.49 s.
Her records so far have been amazing as she has clinched the Diamond League title in addition to her titles of World Record, Commonwealth Games Record, African Record, World Championship, Commonwealth, Nigerian and African Championship.
Although she admitted she was scared at first before the race in Zurich, she was happy to have finally won to break another record. “No pressure, it was more to prove to myself that I broke the world record and that I can do it again and again, it’s not just once, even if after the world championships, I struggled to get my rhythm back but with enough rest I was able to bounce back and I’m grateful. Speaking further on the Zurich race, Amusan said: “I was scared to death get on the line, but I just had to keep my composure, I’m just grateful to have come here (Zurich) and to have won.