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Athletics Integrity Unit still hunts Tobi Amusan!

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World Athletics Championship - Women's 100m Hurdles Heats - National Athletics Centre, Budapest, Hungary - August 22, 2023 Nigeria's Tobi Amusan reacts after finishing first in heat 5 REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier Acquire Licensing Rights

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Reigning women’s 100-metres hurdles champion Tobi Amusan of Nigeria is still being hunted by the Athletics Integrity Unit despite World Athletics’ lifting of a provisional suspension imposed on her last month.

Amusan, who came first in the two races she has had so far at the championships going on in Budapest, has not been able to match her world record winning time of  12.12seconds.

In the semi finals on Wednesday, she returned after 12.56 seconds which was even slower that the 12.48 at the previous day’s race.

The time placed her seventh among the eight runners for the final race this Thursday night.

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She set the world record in the semi-finals of last year’s world championships.

But the AIU appears bent on not giving her a respite. Amusan could still face an appeal that could potentially reinstate the ban.

According to a Reuters report, Amusan may have been battling with psephological issues since her suspension was lifted a week ago.

“I’m just thankful I’m here in Budapest and able to race, using my talent,” Amusan reportedly said. “It has not been the best but I’m here. I tried to stay as relaxed as possible  and do what my coach tells me. So here I am.”

Amusan’s presence at the global showpiece was a surprise, with her suspension lifted just two days before the meet began.

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The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) provisionally suspended the Nigerian last month due to three whereabouts failures within a 12-month period, but the decision was overturned by the AIU’s disciplinary tribunal panel.

Her announcement in Tuesday’s heat received a mix of cheers with a smattering of boos.

The details of her case will soon be published on the AIU’s website, chair David Howman told reporters.

The AIU have 30 days to decide whether or not to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

“We have some concern that it might set a precedent which will be difficult for future cases,” Howman said.

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“So the job we will undertake is to get an independent review of the decision, to determine whether we should consider appealing and then as a board we have to decide whether we will take that step.”

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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