Amusan loses battle of world champions in US
World record holder and current world champion in the 100m hurdles, Tobi Amusan, opened her 2023 outdoor season with a 12.59secs effort to finish second in the finals of the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational at the Percy Beard Track in Gainesville on Saturday.
United States’ Nia Ali won the race with a time of 12.53secs to pick up the gold medal.
2022 world indoor champion, Devyne Charlton of Bahamas completed the top three after running a time of 12.64secs to finish third.
Amusan had qualified for the final with the fourth-fastest time after clocking 12.74 secs (+1.1 m/s) in her season debut.
Ali on her part, a 2019 world champion, clocked the fastest time in the qualifiers with a wind-aided 12.55secs (+2.8 m/s) after comfortably winning heat two ahead of Danielle Williams of Jamaica, the former world champion who finished with 12.64secs.
The Tom Jones Invitational is a major warm-up event for athletes getting ready for the competitive outdoor season.
Saturday’s meet was Amusan’s second competitive appearance since she successfully defended her Diamond League 100m hurdle title in September 2022, with a meeting record of 12.29secs.
Last month, the hurdler started her season on a winning note at the University of Auburn Meet in the United States.
The 26-year-old posted a time of 23.38secs to win the women’s 200m at the Tiger Track Classic in Auburn.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist beat University of Auburn students Chante Clinkscale, who returned at a time 23.56secs, and Ashantae Harvey with 24.46secs.
Amusan had a triumphant outing in 2022 and became the first Nigerian world champion in an athletics event when she won the 2022 World Championships 100m hurdles gold medal, setting the current world record of 12.12secs.
The world champion will now set her sights on retaining her titles and hopefully set a new record at the World Athletics Championship in Budapest in August and the Diamond League this year.