EUGENE — In one of the most competitively stacked fields in the entire World Athletics Championships, Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan first set a world record, then followed it up by winning gold.
Amusan won the first semifinal heat of the women’s 100-meter hurdles in 12.12 seconds Sunday at Hayward Field, topping American Kendra Harrison, the previous world record-holder, in the process. Amusan shaved 0.08 seconds off Harrison’s world record from 2016.
Then in the final Sunday night, Amusan finished in a wind-aided 12.06 to win Nigeria’s first ever gold at the world championships against a field that included seven of the top 10 women in the world.
“It was a strong field,” Amusan said. “I looked at the heat sheet, I’m like, ‘Oh, who did that?’ I spoke to my coach and she told me to relax and execute and I did just that. … I just said to myself that this is another round; I’m not going to pressure myself with my finals status. Knowing that I’m competing against the best in the world, I need to keep my composure and execute and focus on my lane, and I did just that.”
It’s the first world record set by a Nigerian woman and the fourth time in the event’s history that the record was beaten in a heat or semifinal round, with the last coming 36 years ago.
It’s the first ever medal for Amusan, who finished fourth at both the Tokyo Olympics and 2019 world championships in Qatar.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” she said. “I’ve come into every championship coming in fourth. Coming out on top of the podium, it’s amazing.”
Jamaica’s Britany Anderson edged Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, 12.224 to 12.229, for silver.
Anderson’s official time of 12.31 to win the third heat of the semifinals set a national record.
“I wasn’t planning on going that fast,” Anderson said. “The focus was to get to finals, but I was shocked that it was a national record and I’m really grateful for that. … My confidence was really high. I’ve worked so hard throughout this season and I know that I deserve it.”
The gold medalist in Tokyo, Camacho-Quinn ran a season-best 12.32 in the semis. She won her second career medal at the site where she won three consecutive NCAA championships from 2016-18.
“I’m OK with it for my first world championships,” Camacho-Quinn said. “The only thing that really played in my mind was like, first Olympics and I wanted to repeat — I don’t know, it’s a psychological thing. I’m grateful to be out here, to bring back another medal. I personally think we have one of the toughest events of anybody else here. It’s amazing to be out there. A lot of people PR’ed and ran fast.”
NCAA champion Alia Armstrong finished fourth in 12.31 in the final. Her 12.43 in the semis was a personal best.
“I feel like I executed like I wanted to,” Armstrong said. “There were some hurdles where I kind of hit and that, just some work and some tweaking to do, but I’m honestly so honored with that performance. No person in college has ever ran that time, so I’m personally honored to do that. I’m not disappointed one bit.”
Armstrong said she’s returning to LSU to complete her degree with the goal of going pro a year from now.
Harrison, who ran a season-best 12.27 in the semifinals, stumbled over four hurdles and was disqualified in the final. She declined to be interviewed afterward.