Individuals have had mixed reactions since Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan broke the women’s 100m hurdles world record at the world track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon.
In the early hours of Monday, the 25-year-old Nigerian clocked 12.12 seconds in the semifinals, obliterating USA’s Kendra Harrison’s 12.20 seconds standing world record set in 2016. Hours later in the final race, Amusan further lowered the already clocked time with another record of 12.06 seconds. However, this new time would not go into the world record books as it was deemed wind-aided.
The earlier 12.12 seconds achieved by the Nigerian has broken the previous record held by Kendra Harrison by 0.08 of a second – a gap which is unusual between world records in this event. The record has not been lowered by such a margin for over 42 years.
The athlete not only went home with a gold medal, but she also got a $100,000 cheque as a reward for breaking the world record.
JOURNALIST QUESTIONS THE TIMING
While many athletes, including the world’s fastest man, Hussein Bolt, had congratulated the Nigeria athlete, the margin by which Amusan broke the record, the sheer number of personal and national records set in the track event has raised some eyebrows.
This has left some individuals skeptical about the veridicality of the timing system and even the wind gauge.
In a tweet, former gold medalist, Michael Johnson commented:
“I don’t believe 100h times are correct. World record broken by .08! 12 PBs set. 5 National records set. And Cindy Sember’s quote after her PB/NR “I throughly I was running slow!” All athletes looked shocked.”
Johnson noted that Cindy Sember had clearly quoted that she was running slow. “All the athletes looked stunned” he added, including Amusan.
His skepticism however has been counted by critics accusing him of being biased against Amusan an African breaking a record previously held by an American. In an attempt to dismiss the accusations, Johnson wrote
“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.”