Tobi Amusan, the reigning world women’s 100m hurdles champion and record holder, has been conspicuously absent from the recently unveiled Team Nigeria roster for the impending World Athletics Championships. The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) disclosed their list of 26 athletes, comprising 11 male and 15 female contenders, slated to compete in the highly anticipated event scheduled to grace Budapest, Hungary, from August 19 to 27.
Eyes are fixed on silver medalist Ese Brume, whose aspirations of clinching gold this year shine bright. Brume, who impressed at last year’s championships, is joined by Ruth Usoro in the long jump event, while Sade Olatoye (Hammer) and Chioma Onyekwere (Discuss) are prominent names amongst the female participants listed by AFN.
On the men’s side, the likes of Usheoritshe Itshekiri, Favour Ashe, Seye Ogunlewe, Alaba Akintola, Fakorede Adekalu, and Anunagba Karlington are poised to dazzle in the 100m and 4x100m relay races. Meanwhile, the women’s 100m and 4x100m event is set to feature rising stars such as Rosemary Chukwuma, Favour Ofili, Faith Okwose, Justina Eyakpobeyan, and Success Umukoro.
However, the absence of Tobi Amusan has cast a shadow over Nigeria’s medal prospects, as her fate remains uncertain due to a provisional suspension issued by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). The suspension was prompted by Amusan missing three drug tests during the current season, mere weeks before the World Championships.
Despite the AIU’s assertion of a forthcoming hearing on Amusan’s case, her pledge to contest the charges and demonstrate her innocence has left the situation shrouded in ambiguity. With a mere ten days remaining until this year’s championships, the Nigerian athletics community is keenly awaiting updates.
Samuel Onikeku, the Technical Director of the AFN, conveyed that only the AIU is equipped to provide clarity on Amusan’s status, stating, “We have finalized the list and released it. Regrettably, it is the AIU that can shed light on Amusan’s case.”
Inside sources at the AFN, however, have indicated that Amusan’s name remains on the entry list submitted to World Athletics, optimistic that she may be cleared for participation before the event’s commencement. The decision to retain her name on the list hinges on the hope that AIU’s deliberations will conclude favorably.
Tobi Amusan etched her name into the annals of history during last year’s championships in Oregon, USA. She set a new world record of 12.12 seconds during the semi-finals and secured the gold medal with a remarkable 12.06-second performance in the final. Amusan’s triumph not only made her Nigeria’s first-ever world champion and record holder in athletics but also underscored her prowess and potential on the global stage.
Prior to her suspension, the 26-year-old hurdler showcased remarkable form, registering a new season’s best of 12.34 seconds at the Silesia Diamond League meeting in Poland. This triumph marked her second consecutive victory of the season in July, further accentuated by her win at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold in Hungary that same month.
As anticipation builds and the countdown continues, the Nigerian athletics community remains on edge, eagerly awaiting the resolution of Tobi Amusan’s uncertain fate and the unfolding drama set to unfold at the forthcoming World Athletics Championships.