World record holder, Oluwatobilola Amusan, yesterday in Stockholm, showed why she is still the woman to beat in the 100m hurdles, when she ran a time of 12.52 seconds to win the Swedish leg of the Diamond League.
Amusan’s time was lower than what she returned on Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she made 12.45 seconds to finish second behind Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who ran a meet record of 12.40 seconds.
Relatively little known Nigeria’s Emmanuel Bamidele was also in fine form, as he won the silver medal in the 400m in 45.48 seconds behind South Africa’s Zakhiti Nene, who won the gold in 45.30 seconds.
However, it was not so smooth for World Championships’ silver medallist, Ese Brume, who could only finish fifth in the women long jump.
Meanwhile, Amusan, Brume, Emmanuel and other Nigerian athletes competing in the Diamond League are expected in Benin today to compete in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria’ (AFN) national trials, which is the qualifier for this year’s World Athletics Championships billed to hold in Budapest, Hungary.
Already, seven foreign-based stars are among the over 160 athletes expected at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium from July 5 to 7 to battle for tickets to Budapest.
Although the AFN has set tomorrow as arrival date, some of the foreign-based stars arrived in Benin City yesterday.
“The security personnel at the Samuel Ogbemudia are having tough time controlling the large turnout of the fans. They want to watch the foreign-based athletes in training,” an AFN official, who is in the advanced team to Edo State revealed yesterday.
“I am sure the crowd will be more this year compared to what we had last year because of the superlative performance by Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume at the last edition of the World championships in Oregon, United States,” the official added.
Last year, the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium was the venue for the national trials, where athletes for both the World Championships in Oregon, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, were picked.
The chairman of the organising committee, Yusuf Alli, has assured that the government and people of Edo State will give the visiting athletes and officials the best treatment throughout their stay in Benin City.
Alli, who is the chairman of Edo State Sports Commission, and whose Long Jump record set in 1989 in Lagos still stands till date, also assured, yesterday, that there would be side attractions like cultural dance to entertain the fans.
“Apart from being the best Sporting State in Nigeria, Edo State is also the home of culture and entertainment. All these will be on display throughout the National Trials,” Alli stated.
Expected to be the big attractions at the trials are Amusan, Brume, Favour Ofili, Ezekiel, Nnamdi Prosper, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, Ruth Usoro, Chioma Onyekwere, Godson Brume, Udodi Onwuzurike, Samuel Ogazi and veteran Patience Okon-George.