By Dare Esan:
Petite sprint hurdler Tobi Amusan raced into an impressive third position on her IAAF Diamond League debut Thursday night in Rome, Italy.
Amusan ran 12.86 seconds to finish third behind USA’s Sharika Nelvis (12.76) and Danielle Williams (12.82),the Jamaican lady she scaled past to win the Commonwealth Games gold in the Gold Coast,Australia last April.
With the performance the Nigerian picked up a cheque for $4,000 and six points to place eighth in the Diamond League qualification standings albeit she has just competed in one of the three out of the six meetings decided so far.
Nelvis tops the standings with 21 points.
According to the standings, Amusan is in the running for a place in the final of the event where the top eight finishers after the six round of races will be line up in the final to determine who becomes the “IAAF Diamond League Champion” for the event and a reward comprising of a Diamond Trophy, $50’000 prize money and a wild card for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar next year.
Amusan will hope to become the second Nigerian athlete,man or woman to be crowned champions of IAAF’s premium one-day meetings following Falilat Ogunkoya’s feat in 1998 when she ran 49.73 seconds in Moscow to win the 400m event in the then IAAF Golden League that metarmorphosed into Diamond League in 2010.
That year Ogunkoya and Charity Opara dominated the Golden League circuit with Opara winning three out of the seven (Oslo, Rome and Monaco) including the memorable 49.29 seconds world leading run at the Golden gala in Rome.
Ogunkoya also won thrice ( the Memorial Van Damme in Brussels,the ISTAF in Berlin and the final in Moscow) while Germany’s Grit Breuer won at the Weltklasse in Zurich.