Tobi Amusan: From Gold to Diamond

At the Diamond League Athletics final last Thursday in Zurich, Switzerland, only two current world champions were able to break long-standing Weltklasse meeting records that had stood the test of time – American world 200 men’s metres sprinter Noah Lyles and of course Nigeria’s sensation Tobi Amusan in the women’s 100 metres hurdles.  The records they broke were previously held by legends of the sport.

And so Tobi Amusan crowned her Year 2022 athletics season, moving on from her gold and world record in Eugene to Diamond and meeting record in Zurich.

Amusan got to the finish line in 12.29 seconds to successfully defend the Diamond League title she won last year. Tia Jones of USA came second in 12.40s while Jamaica’s Britany Anderson was third in the race. Puerto Rico’s Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn could only finish fourth. Amusan had won the Diamond League trophy last year in 12.42 seconds, which was a new African record.

Recall that last July, at the World Athletic Championships in Eugene, Oregon in the USA, Amusan broke the world women hurdles record in the semi-finals, returning a time of 12.12 seconds. That victory made her the first Nigerian to win a gold medal at the world championship.

The following month, she won the gold medal in the same event at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. She had earlier in June defended her African championships title with a time of 12:57 seconds. She thus becomes the first Nigerian to be crowned African, Commonwealth, World and Diamond League champion, all in the same in the same year and athletics season.

The 25-year-old has filled up her trophy cupboard with the top awards and prizes and award in one calendar year and this is unprecedented.

The Diamond League record which she replaced last Thursday has been in place for 22 years since it was set by the legendary multiple Olympic and world gold medalist, Gail Devers of the USA in 2000. Amusan’s 12.29 seconds in Zurich took a tenth of a second off the mark that had been set by Devers. Gail Devers was incidentally in the commentary box with another sprint and quarter-mile legend, Michael Johnson when Amusan set the world record in Eugene.

Noah Lyles

Amusan has capped a sensational season where she has now established herself as a record breaker and one who is not fazed, no matter how highly competitive a field she finds herself.

The Diamond League website quoted her as saying: “Everyone has doubted me. I just had to prove myself, that I have got it………. I am just so thankful for all of this season. I am full of emotions. Now, vacation, rest and then back to practice.”

She is sure entitled to some vacation before the next season begins. But as she well knows, it is one thing to aspire and get to the top; it another to stay at the top. So there is more work ahead.

Amusan and Noah Lyles were not the only stars that shone at the Zurich meet, though.

Fellow world champion Shericka Jackson of Jamaica took the women’s 200 metres in 21.80 seconds.

Other Diamond Trophy winners include:

  • Dominican Republic’s world and Olympic silver medalist Marileidy Paulino won the women’s 400m final in clocking 48.99 seconds.
  • Norway’s Olympic 1500m and world 5000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen took the 1500m in 3:29.02.
  • Emmanuel Korir of Kenya in the 800m in 1:43.26.
  • Brazilian Alison Dos Santos in the 400m hurdles in 46.98s.
  • Femke Bol of the Netherlands the women’s 400m hurdles in 53.03s
  • Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100m in 10.65s
  • Ethiopia’s Werkuha Getachew in the women’s 3000m steeplechase 9:03.57
  • USA’s two-time world 110m hurdles champion Grant Holloway won a first Diamond League title win in 13.02.
  • Faith Kipyegon of Kenya in the 1500m in with 4:00.44 on the clock,
  • Kenyan Mary Moraa won the women’s 800m in 1:57.63.
  • Grenada’s multiple world and Olympic medallist Kirani James clocked 44.26 to win his third Diamond Trophy over 400m.
  • USA’s world bronze medallist Trayvon Bromell blasted to victory in the men’s 100m, in 9.94s.
  • Morocco’s Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase champion Soufiane El Bakkali ran 8:07.67 to win the event.

The Wanda Diamond League, easily the flagship of annual track and field events of the season, encompasses 32 Diamond Disciplines, following a championship style model. Athletes earn points at the 13 series meetings to qualify for the final of their discipline. At each of the 13 series meetings, Athletes are awarded 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 points for ranking 1st to 8th respectively. The top 6 in the field events, top eight for 100m to 800m and the top 10 for 1500m and long distances will qualify for the Final. In case of a tie, the best legal performance of the qualification phase wins.

The Final 3 format, which is trialled throughout the season in horizontal and technical disciplines, will not be used in the Wanda Diamond League Final.

The winner of each Diamond Discipline at the Final will become “Diamond League Champion” and be awarded a Diamond Trophy, US $30,000 prize money and a wild card for the World Athletics Championships (certain conditions apply).


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