Camacho-Quinn and Tobi Amusan’s unique rivalry brings new level of intrigue to the women’s 100m Hurdles.
Like two boxers who had punched their way into twelve rounds with no one refusing to submit, but a winner just has to be decided by unanimous decision or by points, we saw yet another chapter of Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Tobi Amusan slug it out over the 100m hurdles for the seventeenth time.
It was close. And that’s a word that isn’t usually used lightly in track. The finest of margins have decided Gold medalists in Olympic and World championship races. Here in Lausanne- their third meeting of the season, Camacho-Quinn and Amusan put up another slugfest for the lights and camera at the Athletissima. For the most part, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing one athlete dominate a particular event, and seeing them compete against themselves sometimes be a bore.
Tobi Amusan destroys 100m hurdle WR, World Athletics Championships
Eugene, Oregon, USA
July 15-26, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris
With Amusan and Camacho-Quinn, it is always a thrill. After the Olympic Champion snuck past the line in first place in a meet record of 12.40s, she went over to give Amusan a warm embrace. A warm smile and grimace followed, almost as if she was saying, “I’ve got the better of you once again”. They’ve been at this for a while now, and it doesn’t feel like ending anytime soon.
This was the seventeenth time they’ve squared up against each other. It feels strange for two sprinters who are still at the peak stage of their careers and have still got about five to eight years to entertain us at the top level. We usually see world record holders, Olympic Champions and World Champions duck each other outside of major championships largely because of their sponsors and not wanting to lose to one another. The ego forms a large part of it, too.
Fred Kerley and Marcel Jacobs, Femke Bol vs Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone or Athing Mu vs Keely Hodgkinson, it’s as scarce as a hen’s teeth to find them come up against each other outside a major championship. Sometimes scarcity brings demand and usually whet the appetite of viewers who look forward to these match-ups. But unlike Boxing, there are varieties of events fans can look forward to.
Jasmine Camacho Quinn, takes the win, photo by Diamond League AG
Not Amusan and Camacho-Quinn. Their duel dates back to their days in College in the United States. Amusan, an international student from Nigeria running for the University of Texas, El Paso and Camacho-Quinn, a Puerto Rican native lacing her spikes for the University of Kentucky racing against each other for the first time on the 11th of June 2016. For first and second-year college students, their 12.79s and 12.54s each for second and first were as good as it gets.
Seven years later, they both are sparring for who will break the world record. Lausanne’s meeting was just another reflection of how far they’ve come in their careers. Their current head to head currently stands at 11-6 in favor of Camacho Quinn. Asides the Olympic title, the crucial wins have always gone to Amusan. And that sums up track and field in a nutshell.
Tobi Amusan, 2022 Nigerian Champs, by Deji Ogeyingbo
Amusan has won the Diamond Trophy in each of the last two seasons and consolidated her status as a legend of the hurdles when she broke the world record with 12.12 at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Oregon. Camacho-Quinn, meanwhile, was the most consistent winner on the Diamond League circuit in 2022, claiming six victories in nine races over the course of the season, including a handful of victories over Amusan.
Now, after three races, Camacho-Quinn, who remains unbeaten in all her seven races this year, has gotten the better of Amusan three times. The Nigerian’s only win came at the Racers Grand Prix in May. There was a bit of trepidation at the being in of the season after she failed to pull her weight in races and struggle to finish inside the top 3. Five races later, Amusan is already running a season’s best of 12.47s.
The time doesn’t come close to Camacho-Quinn, though. The Puerto Rican has the edge so far with regard to times as she clocked the world lead of 12.31 when winning at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Los Angeles and ran a wind-assisted 12.17 in Bermuda.
Eventually, the track world knows we are in for a thrill over the women’s hurdles. Although the US contingent led by former world record holder Keni Harrison, Nia Ali, Alaysha Johnson, and Tia Jones will look to spoil the party for them in Budapest, It’s hard to look past Amusan and Camacho-Quinn snagging the Gold at the worlds, and their rivalry makes it all the more interesting.