American psychologist working on defending champion
World 100m women hurdles record holder, Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan, raised the country’s hope for medals, yesterday, when she easily qualified for the semifinals of the event at the ongoing World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Amusan, who was competing for the first time since her clearance from alleged anti-doping infractions by a panel set up by World Athletics to review her suspension by the Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU), was the cynosure of all eyes at the National Athletics Stadium in Budapest.
The Ogun State-born Amusan did not disappoint the fans, as she finished the race in 12.48sec ahead of her challengers, and in the process, picked a semifinals ticket.
Amusan started the defence of her world title from lane four outside Olympics bronze medal winner, Megan Tapper of Jamaica, in the fifth and final heat of the first round.
The reigning Nigeria, African, Commonwealth and Diamond League champion is seeking to successfully defend her title and retain all five crowns.
Before yesterday’s race, The Guardian learnt that the United States had dispatched a top sports psychologist to Team Nigeria’s camp to work on Amusan, with a view to erasing the trauma of her recent suspension by the AIU.
Meanwhile, former Ogun State Sports Commissioner, Bukola Olopade, arrived in Budapest on Monday morning with the sole aim of cheering Amusan to victory in defence of her title.
Olopade is in Budapest as guest of World Athletics in recognition of his contributions to sports as an organiser of marathon races in Nigeria.
Olopade, who was recently named as chairman of Ogun 2024 National Sports Festival, is the brain behind the Access Bank-sponsored Lagos City Marathon, Abeokuta 10km Race and Remo Ultra Race.
He was at the Budapest Athletics Stadium on Monday evening to witness the historic women’s 100m final, won by American sprinter, Richardson.
“First, I thank World Athletics for the recognition given to me to be part of this championships in Budapest. It will be a big excitement for me to see Amusan retain her world title on Wednesday. I will be at the stadium this afternoon to cheer her and other Nigerian athletes.
“The AFN under Tonobok Okowa has done so much for Nigerian athletics, and I think the federation deserves accolades. I will be happy if Nigeria gets a medal here in Budapest,” Olopade stated.