Amusan Tobi is a rising Track and Field athlete who competes in the 100m flat and hurdles, 200m and Long Jump. She was the 100mh Gold medalist at the African Junior Championships and All-Afrixa Games in 2015.
Tobi is a 2016 Olympian with C-USA Track Athlete of the Year, C-USA Outdoor Freshman of the Meet, NCAA 100mh Silver medalist and NCAA Outdoor All-American First team to show for it. She recently broke UTEP’s 200m and equalled the 60mh indoor records.
The World U20 100mh Leader talks to Athletic Heat on her recent successes, the World Junior Championships and how going to the US turned things around.
Can you tell us who Tobi Amusan is?
Haha. Amusan Tobi is a Girl! The last and only troublesome child in the family of three.
Haha. How did your parents react initially when you told them you wanted to go into athletics?
My mother is a lover of sport Same as my dad but my mum was really in support of me going into athletics.
How long have you been on the track ?
2015 was a breakout year for you after clinching the 100mh Gold medal at the African Junior Championship and All-Africa Games. Since then you haven’t looked back. What’s your motivation?
God has being my greatest motivation! My motivation was all about proving to just one ‘Being’ that said I can never make headway in track & field! Each time I remember this, I train like a wounded beast.
Proving to one ‘Being’. Can you shed more light on it?
Well. I’m not gonna say more!
Okay. We respect your decision.How has it been schooling in the US?
Schooling in US is the biggest positive decision I made in my whole life. Its pretty different but all worth it.
Tell us your first week with UTEP Miners team?
It felt weird especially seeing new faces and my ascent was way terrible. They laughed at me everytime because I had to repeat myself faster before they understood what I was trying to say! The Team overall was great and accommodating but most times not everyone will like you!
Amusan during workout at UTEP track.
Do you feel it would have been harder to combine school and sports in Nigeria?
Sincerely Yes , because I transferred from a University in Nigeria and it was pretty tough I trained once in a week and if there are competitions to attend you are on your own coz it’s automatic Carry Over. But here emails are sent to the professors so as to exempt student athletes in an exam or whatever! The professor tells you to come take the exam before or after it depends on when they feel like so its pretty easy. Some care and other doesn’t but 98% of professors are considerate.
Great… Recently you were invited for an event because your GPA is over 3.0. How do you still have good grades when you get to compete almost every week ?
Haha. I know right but remember we are called Student Athletes both are priorities but School first !
You recently broke UTEP 200m record and equalled the 60mh record. What goes through your mind before your race?
Mentally I am tough. I don’t care who is racing with me. My goal is always to surpass my previous time and run PR’s every time I compete.
Last year you were the favourite to win the 100m hurdles title at the World Junior Championships but unfortunately you finished 5th. What went wrong?
What happened was that, the girl from US (Alexis Duncan) who raced in my semis hit my hand on the 5th hurdles and I tried fighting hard on not losing my rhythm but unfortunately she held it on d 7th and 8th hurdles which messed the whole rhythm and I was too late! A terrible day for me.
Amusan (middle) battling with USA’s Alexis Duncan (left) at 2016 World Junior Championship Poland.
I can relate to it. Sorry about that.
You’re welcome. What are the challenges you face as an athlete and how do you use it to your advantage?
Well, there are so many challenges, but the bottom line is I never for once lose faith in God and I never quitted .
You made your debut Olympic appearance at Rio 2016 where you reached the semifinal. How did you feel rubbing shoulders with the world best hurdlers? Where you star struckked?
Sighs. I don’t see myself as a low standard hurdler. I just see myself as a world class athlete too “Almost there don’t rush” I was a little bit star strucked especially when I was warming up. The way they approach every routine was way different from mine but I just told myself soon you will get there!
That’s the motivation! You have been impressive in the last one year. What is the secret behind your success.
Yes it is! God ! My Parents! My Coach! My Spiritual Father! Few Outta My Church Pastors! My Sport Papa & Mama ! ( Prayer, Hardwork, Unlimited Dedication ) 3 D’s Discipline, Determination & Dedication!
What were the challenges you faced before you finally got every thing ready for US (Visa, I-20, ticket etc)?
Like I said God always got my back. Everything came with ease! Visa, 6 students in front of me were denied. I was asked few questions and I was given !! I-20 came with ease no delay whatsoever! Ticket, as soon as I got back from AAG I had enough money to purchase that. God’s perfect timing!
That’s awesome. What were the challenges you faced back home in Nigeria?
Nigeria … Challenges … A whole lot. I mean Challenges that almost made me quit but GOD saw me through! Not saying more on that!
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Greatest Heights…. God In Control!
Lastly, any advice to young aspiring athletes who are reading this?
Never Quit & let no one tell you, you can’t achieve your goals! Not even their inner selves.
Thanks so much for your time Tobi.
It’s my pleasure.