Tobi Amusan holds the enviable record of being the first and only Nigerian world champion in athletics till date.
The Ijebu girl at the 2022 World Athletics Championships held last month in Oregon, USA, won the 100m hurdles gold and also set a new world record of 12.12 seconds.
At the just-ended 2022 Commonwealth Games, Amusan also won a gold medal to successfully defend the 100m hurdles title she won at the 2018 Commonwealth Champion in Gold Coast, Australia.
Amusan not only won a gold medal at Birmingham 2022 but set a new Commonwealth Games record with a time of 12.30s.
She became the only Nigerian athlete who bagged two gold medals at Birmingham 2022 having been part of the Nigerian women’s 4x100m relay team which won the gold at the Games.
The reigning world 100m hurdles champion in this interview with Tribunesport’s NIYI ALEBIOSU shortly after her race at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, speaks on her career and plans for the future. Excerpts:
Congratulations on your feat at Birmingham 2022, how do you feel about this achievement?
Thank you so much. I am grateful and happy for this achievement and for making the country proud at the Commonwealth Games.
With a series of successful outings this year at various championships, could we say 2022 is your year?
(Smiles), Yeah, of course yes. It has been a wonderful year for me but then, naturally, I am just doing my things my own way and will keep doing it my own way so as to achieve more successes in my career.
Being a world record holder in 100m hurdles, how special is it?
Honestly, it has been so good and overwhelming. And I want to say here that the journey has not been so easy, but I am grateful to God, my coach, my fans, Nigerians and my family. If it is left to me I do not think I will be here today competing. I am just too happy to have the right people around me. They believe so much in me, so they keep pushing me especially during my ups and downs. This victory is for them all.
How have you been able to overcome all the previous disappointments in your career to get to this stage. I mean missing medals when you placed fourth at the last World Athletics Championships and at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?
Mentally, it was challenging, trust me, it was very very challenging and for me to say it was challenging, it was really challenging. As I said, with the support of my team and God, I was able to scale through. So I put the previous disappointments behind me and focus on what the future holds for me. Again, with my people behind me, it also helps me to achieve all of these. When it looks like I have gotten to the end of my career, God makes it possible for me to forge ahead.
What is next for Tobi Amusan?
I still have a lot of competitions this year but I will have to discuss with my coach first to decide which ones I will attend.
At the end of the season, how will you want to unwind?
Well, frankly speaking I have not had a break this year and I think I will have enough sleep first because I need some rest at the moment. I will not have to think or worry about any upcoming events for now but have some rest first. So I will rest so well to prepare for the coming season.
You set a new Commonwealth Games record here, 12.30s and you said the feat was badly executed, why?
Yes, when I said this, I have my reasons. I knew it should go smoothly but not at all. I knew my first five hurdles weren’t good at all and I had to tell myself, ‘girl, nah nah nah, this was not good enough’ and I quickly adjusted and had to do what I
wanted to do and I did just that. So the result is what we all saw at the Games. That was why I said it was poorly executed but nevertheless, I thank God that I was able to adjust quickly during the course of the race and it actually paid off.
Did you have the Games record on your mind coming to Birmingham 2022?
Not at all. I only came into the race to do what was expected of me though, I wanted to win, honestly, I was not expecting the record setting of a thing. I came to execute my strategy and it happened the way I wished. In a situation like this, anything can happen. All I did was to remain focused and it helped me greatly. I was never under any form of pressure. I was just myself.
With all that you have achieved in the past few months, where is the motivation coming from?
First and foremost, it’s God and my support team, very solid. What I did was that I sat down with my coach at the start of the season, and we spoke about a lot of stuffs. I thanked her for her effort having been in my shoes before, but in fact, it’s the Lord’s doing.
Between now and then, what has changed about Tobi Amusan?
(Smiles), with due respect, nothing has changed. I am still the same friendly Tobi that plays with everybody. I need not allow success go to my head. I will remain my humble self.