–Becomes third Nigerian at UTEP to win American collegiate title
Tobi Amusan early Sunday morning scorched to a new 12.57 seconds lifetime best to win her first National Collegiate of Athletics Association (NCAA) Championships title in the 100m hurdles at the historic Hayward Stadium in Oregon on Sunday.
The Nigerian exploded out of the blocks and held onto a narrow lead over the defending champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. In the closing moment of the race Amusan leaned over the finish line to clock a time of 12.57, while Camacho-Quinn was close behind at 12.58.
She not only in the process broke the UTEP school record of 12.63 seconds she set early in the ongoing outdoor season, she also raced to the number two spot in the Nigerian all-time list behind Glory Alozie (12.44 seconds) as well as second in the IAAF top list for the 2017 season.
Amusan also joined the duo of Olapade Adeniken and Blessing Okagbare as Nigerians who won NCAA titles as undergraduate students at the University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP).
Adeniken successfully completed a 100m (10.09)/200m (20.11) double in 1992 while Okagbare also did a double by winning the 100m and long jump titles in 2010.
UTEP head coach Mika Laaksonen hailed the Nigerian import after the race.
“Amusan is another special talent. She executed her race very well and all the hard work she put in this season paid off. She had to be the favourite coming in, the way she’s been running all year,” Laaksonen said. “She got challenged, she got it done. She ran very hard to keep the Kentucky girl behind her. It was just enough.”She ran a great race, I am very proud of her.”
The reigning African 100m hurdles champion was delighted to be crowned champion after missing out last year.
“I’m so happy, I worked for this all season,” she said. “I knew I needed to get out of the blocks. I did.”
As to how it felt to win her first national championship, she said: “Oooh, ice cream all day.”