Toby Amusan breaks world record in 100m hurdles, debate rages at World Championships in Athletics

Nigerian Tobi Amusan set a new world record in the women’s 100m hurdles at the World Championships in Athletics in Eugene on Monday, but it has sparked controversy.

In the first run of the final session on day 10 of the competition, Amusan posted a winning time of 12.12 seconds in the first of three semi-finals.

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It broke the previous record of 12.20 seconds set by American Kendra Harrison in 2016. Harrison was also in the first semi-final, finishing in second place with a time of 12.27 seconds.

The previous championship record was 12.28 seconds, set by Australian Sally Pearson in Daegu in 2011.

On Sunday, Amusan set an African record of 12.40 seconds to win her heat, the fastest first lap time in World Cup history.

“I wanted to get out and leave,” said the 25-year-old Nigerian. “I did what I had to do. Now I’m looking forward to the final.”

However, there has been some controversy over the accuracy of the stopwatch in Oregon after a series of stunning results were set, including personal bests and national records.

The legendary American sprinter Michael Johnson, who has won four Olympic gold medals in his well-deserved career, has questioned the validity of the results recorded in the 100m hurdles, suggesting that something is wrong.

“I don’t believe 100 hours is correct. The world record has been broken by 0.08!” Johnson tweeted. “Twelve PBs have been installed. Set five national records. And Cindy Sember quotes after her PB/NR: “I really ran slow!” All athletes looked shocked.

“In heat 2 we were first shown a win time of 12.53. After a few seconds it shows 12.43. Rounding down by 0.01 is normal. 0.10 no.”

Speaking to the BBC, Johnson added: “I don’t believe in these times, let’s look at racing.”

Five of the eight runners in the Amusan semi-final showed their best results, drawing disbelief in the athletics world.

Athletics writer Jonathan Gault was amazed.

Despite Johnson’s concerns, Amusan’s new world record will stand. In the final, she and Harrison will be joined by Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn from Puerto Rico, Jamaican couple Brittany Anderson and 2015 world champion Danielle Williams, American Alia Armstrong, Devinn Charlton from the Bahamas and British Cindy Sember.

With AFP

Originally published as Controversy flares up after star breaks world record