Since the news of Tobi Amusan’s victory broke out on Monday, some Nigerians have spoken of how a homegrown talent excelled in spite of Nigeria’s problems.
In a run time of 12.06 seconds, Amusan clinched the goal medal at the 100 metres hurdles final at the World Championships held in Eugene, United States.
CLAIM: Tobi trained in Nigeria but beat other athletes who trained in world-class facilities.
VERIFICATION: According to World Athletics, Amusan was born in 1997 in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, where she lived with her parents, who, according to her, “set the tone” for her athletic career.
Her journey as an athlete started at the age of 15 at Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Ijebu-Ode, when she entered and won the 100m sprint in an inter-house sports competition where she defeated an athlete who trained professionally at a local stadium.
Later on, she started formal training, but not openly, as her father did not approve of such a career. “He limited my time at the stadium, but I used to sneak to the track thanks to mum telling dad I’d gone to church,” she would say.
In 2013, her series of training paid off when she qualified to represent Nigeria at the African Youth Championships, where she earned 200m silver. In the same year, she represented Nigeria at the World Athletics U18 Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, where she was disqualified in the 200m semi-finals for lane infringement.
In 2016, two years after she switched to hurdles, Amusan received a scholarship to attend the University of Texas at El Paso, where she met Lacena Golding-Clarke, a three-time Olympian for Jamaica, who became her coach.
CONCLUSION: There is sufficient evidence that Amusan lived in Nigeria until 2016, when she left for the United States after receiving a scholarship to study at the University of Texas at El Paso.
VERDICT: The claim that Tobi Amusan excelled despite training with inferior facilities is false. Yes, she started in Nigeria. Yes, she worked hard for what she has today. However, at some point, she did benefit from exposure to international opportunities and facilities.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.