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To Go For Training, I Would Lie I Was Going To Church’ — Amusan Reflects On Dad’s Objection To Athletic Career

Tobi Amusan, the world 100-meter hurdles champion, says her father once burnt her training gear to dissuade her from pursuing a career in athletics.

Amusan spoke in a chat with BBC Sport Africaon Monday.

The 25-year-old sprinter is the first Nigerian to become a world record holder in athletics after she stormed to an astonishing 12.12 seconds in the semifinal of the 100-meter hurdles at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

She thereafter clocked a wind-aided 12.06 seconds — ineligible as a world record because of +2.5 meters per second strong wind — to win gold in the final of the championship.

Reflecting on her career growth, Amusan narrated how her mother would “tell my dad I was going to church while I sneaked to practice.”

The world champion described her parents as “strict disciplinarians”. She, however, said her mother was the only ally she had at the early stage of her career.

“My parents are both teachers, they are strict disciplinarians,” she said.

“When you grow up in such a family, they feel you should focus on school. And being a female, they think you are going to go astray, lose focus and all of that.

“But because my mum saw what I didn’t see [in] myself, she felt she could give me a chance. And she kept telling me not to disappoint her.

“My mum would tell my dad I was going to church while I sneaked to practice or tell him I was going to a school debate while I went to an out-of-state competition. That’s where it all started.

“My dad got really mad one time when he found out [I was running]. He burnt all my training gear and told my mum that’s the last time he wanted to see me in a stadium.”

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