Tobi Amusan at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)
As Tobi Amusan crossed the finish line in the women’s 100m hurdles final on Sunday (24) at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, she looked shocked.
Her time popped up on the clock at 12.06 – 0.06 faster than the world record* time she had set less than two hours prior in the first heat of the semifinals.
Her attention flipped to the wind-gauge, which read 2.5m/s, and she realised her time in the final would not count as a world record because it was not wind legal.
However, Amusan was still delighted. She had already set the world record, 12.12 (0.9m/s), and she followed up with her first World Championships gold.
“The goal was to come out and to win this gold. I just did it,” said the Nigerian. “Honestly, I believe in my abilities, but I was not expecting a world record at these championships.”
Hence the look of utter surprise.
Three years ago, Amusan finished fourth at the World Championships in Doha. Her form only improved from there, and she posted a personal best of 12.41 at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Paris in June before traveling to Eugene for the World Championships. Here her times began to get faster.
She topped that PB by .01 in the qualifying rounds on Saturday, breaking the African record in the process, before breaking the world record in the semifinal and running the wind-aided 12.06 in the final.
In the final, Amusan accelerated ahead of the field after clearing the sixth hurdle. She held off Jamaica’s Britany Anderson and Puerto Rico’s Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, both of whom were officially timed at 12.23 but separated in a photo finish by five thousandths of a second.
Before coming to the World Championships, Anderson won her first Jamaican title with a PB of 12.45. She then improved on that time in the semifinal as she ran a national record of 12.31.
“In the middle it was not the best because I kept hitting the hurdles, but thank God I came full through with the silver medal,” Anderson said. “I am just taking it step by step, and I’ll learn from this experience. It is overwhelming to get this experience from the Olympics and now to be a part of this race.”
Camacho-Quinn has enjoyed a steady stream of success in recent years in the form of three NCAA titles and a string of victories on the international circuit. She won the Olympic title last year in 12.37, having broken the Games record with 12.26 in the semifinals.
However, the World Championships was a stage she had not yet experienced.
“I got nervous, to be honest,” Camacho-Quinn said. “It kind of showed on my face, but I am just glad to come out here. I hit the last hurdle, but I ended up with a medal and I’ll take it.”
Former world record-holder Keni Harrison, who clocked 12.27 to finish behind Amusan in the semifinals, was in contention in the first half of the final but then faded and jogged over the line in last place. She was later disqualified for knocking down a hurdle with her hands.
After watching her world record fall in the semifinals, she flashed a wide grin and embraced Amusan.
Alia Armstrong, who won the NCAA title at Hayward Field earlier this summer, returned to Eugene for her first World Championships and finished just off the podium in fourth place in a wind-aided 12.31. Armstrong also ran a personal best of 12.43 to win the second heat of the semifinals.
“Coming into this race, I knew I could win,” Armstrong said. “Even though some can run 12.12, I can run 12.0. It doesn't matter who you are up against, you can do all things.”
After competing as the youngest woman in the field, Armstrong will return to her final year at Louisiana State University.
The entire final was a speedy one. To put that in context, Danielle Williams’ sixth-place finish of 12.44 was faster than the gold-medal time at the World Championships in 1991, 1995, 2003, 2005, 2015 and 2017.
“Last year, after the Olympics, I said that hurdles is evolving,” Camacho-Quinn said. “So I feel like, from this point on, it is only going to be faster. We did pretty good. There were a lot of PRs out there today. I think we had the best event of the whole world champs. Just because of the times we put on, and I am very thankful.”
Aaron Heisen for World Athletics
|WOMEN'S 100m HURDLES MEDALLISTS (2.5m/s)|
|🥇||Tobi Amusan 🇳🇬 NGR||12.06w|
|🥈||Britany Anderson 🇯🇲 JAM||12.23w|
|🥉||Jasmine Camacho-Quinn 🇵🇷 PUR||12.23w|