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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

World Athletic Championship: Tobi Amusan’s fate hangs in the balance

World women’s 100m hurdles champion and record holder Tobi Amusan’s hope of strutting her stuff at the World Athletic Championship suffered a blow yesterday as she failed to make the official list released by the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

The reigning world champion got a provisional suspension from the Athletic Integrity Unit (AIU) some weeks ago for missing three drug tests in the space of twelve months — an allegation Tobi had denied in a Facebook post in July.

The list has 11 male and 15 female athletes for the championships, which holds from August 19 to 27 in Budapest, Hungary.

Silver medallist at last year’s championships Ese Brume will hope to upgrade to a gold in Budapest. She will be joined in the long jump event by Ruth Usoro.

Sade Olatoye (Hammer) and Chioma Onyekwere (Discuss) are also among the prominent females on the AFN list.

National champion Usheoritshe Itshekiri, Favour Ashe, Seye Ogunlewe, Alaba Akintola, Fakorede Adekalu and Anunagba Karlington will be spread across the men’s 100m and 4x100m relay races, just as Rosemary Chukwuma, Favour Ofili, Faith Okwose, Justina Eyakpobeyan and Success Umukoro will compete in the women’s 100m and 4x100m event.

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While the list has a lot of medal hopefuls for Nigeria, the AFN is still in a nervous wait over Amusan’s fate.

While the AIU also stated that there would be a hearing on her case before the World Championships, Tobi had also vowed to fight the charges and prove her innocence, but nothing has been heard about the proceedings, with just 10 days to this year’s championships.

Technical Director of the AFN Samuel Onikeku, stated that it was only the AIU that could give an update about Amusan.

“We have perfected the list and it has been released. But unfortunately, it is the AIU that can comment on Amusan’s case,” Onikeku said.

The Nigerian made history at the championships last year in Oregon, USA, racing to a new world record time of 12.12secs in the semi-finals, before running 12.06secs in the final to clinch the gold medal and become Nigeria’s first ever world champion and record holder in athletics.

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Before her suspension, the 26-year-old had been in fine form, running a new season’s best of 12.34secs at the Silesia Diamond League meeting in Poland to win her second consecutive race of the season in July, while she also won at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold in Hungary same month.

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