World Athletics Championships: Ajunwa tasks Amusan, others on professionalism

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By Aderonke Ojediran

Chioma Ajunwa, Nigeria’s first Olympic gold medalist, on Friday called on athletes representing the country at global events such as the ongoing World Athletics Championships to maintain high level of professionalism.

Ajunwa, a former track and field athlete and football player, said this against the backdrop of Tobi Amusan’s failure to defend her title at the World Athletics Championships in Badapest, Hungary.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Jamaica’s Danielle Williams won the title in a season-best of 12.43s while Olympic champion, Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn came second in 12.44s.

Kendra Harrison of U.S. came third in 12.46s and World champion, Amusan came 6th in 12.62s in her third consecutive final.

NAN reports that at the 2022 World Championship in Eugene, USA, Amusan came first with a of 12.40 (African record) before setting a new world record of 12.12 to smash the 12.20 world record set by Kendra Harrison in 2016.

“We should be thankful that she was finally cleared. But even at that one can see the effect, there’s nothing like when one is competing with a clear head.

“I know the effect of suspending her for months really affected her, but I don’t want to dwell on that. She has to learn her lesson; she’s a top international athlete.

“The people we’re dealing with focus all eyes on the black man, that is why our athletes need to be more careful and show professionalism,” she said.

NAN reports that the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) had suspended Amusan over an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) of three Whereabouts Failures within 12 months.

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Subsequently, the panel of Disciplinary Tribunal, by majority decision, found that Amusan had not committed a violation and lifted the suspension.

Ajunwa, who is an advocate against drug abuse and the use of banned substances, told NAN that athletes of international repute should endeavour to lend their voices to the cause in other to educate upcoming talents.

“It’s unfortunate that even when you stage a campaign against drug, instead of them coming to learn, they don’t, even the home based athletes; that shows that their minds are made up.

“Sometimes I perceive they don’t know what it takes to be a champion. I pray God guides them because they don’t want to guide themselves. Amusan is a world star; she’s a role model that should lead by example.

“Trust no one. My problem in sports started from when I started drinking water in my bottle.

“You can put your water in your cup another person may have spiked it, politics is everywhere. This should serve as a lesson to everyone,” she said.

Ajunwa further said as a top international athlete, it was important to inform AIU of one’s whereabouts.

“Whenever she’s leaving her base, she owes it to them, she should tell them, and they should be able to reach her.

“They’re not happy that a Nigerian broke the record and set a new one, it will take a while for someone else to break that record,” she said.

The championships which kicked off on Aug. 19, would end on Aug. 27. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Salif Atojoko

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