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Tobi Amusan: Nigeria’s golden girl causes stir after world record win at World Athletics Championships

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CNN
 — 

Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan has caused a stir after smashing a world record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles in the semifinals at the World Championships this Sunday.

Amusan came in with a record time of 12.12 seconds, beating Kendra Harrison’s 2016 record of 12.20 by 0.8 of a second.

She went on to bag gold in the final, though her initial finishing time of 12.06 was ruled out due to strong wind speeds.

Amusan of poses with her world record in the Women's 100m hurdles semi-final on day ten of the World Athletics Championships.

Amusan’s world record sent shockwaves through the athletics world.

“Wow” tweeted Jamaican track and field great Usain Bolt, while 200m champion and American record holder Noah Lyles tweeted: “12.12 are you kidding me?” Both congratulated her on Twitter.

In November 2016, the now-25 year old tweeted: “Unknown now but soon I will be unforgettable, I will persist until I succeed.”

“I could not believe it when I saw it on the screen after the semis. But it was just a matter of time,” Amusan told reporters Sunday.

Her win – Nigeria’s first gold at such an event – was met with joy, with congratulations pouring in from a state governor and a presidential candidate in the upcoming 2023 elections.

But some expressed skepticism at the race, which saw numerous competitors run their best times ever.

“I don’t believe 100h times are correct. World record broken by .08! 12 PBs set. 5 National records set,” four-time Olympic gold medalist and BBC commentator Michael Johnson wrote on Twitter, adding that Great Britain’s Cindy Sember commented that she had been running slow at the time of her personal best and national record.

The semi-finals saw numerous athletes set their best times.

“All athletes looked shocked,” the former 200 and 400 meter runner said.

“Heat 2 we were first shown winning time of 12.53. Few seconds later it shows 12.43. Rounding down by .01 is normal. .10 is not,” he said.

Johnson received swift and fierce backlash for his comments, and later returned to Twitter to clarify further, pointing out that he had predicted that Amusan would win.

“As a commentator my job is to comment. In questioning the times of 28 athletes (not 1 athlete) by wondering if the timing system malfunctioned, I was attacked, accused of racism, and of questioning the talent of an athlete I respect and predicted to win. Unacceptable. I move on,” he said.

CNN has reached out to World Athletics for comment.



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