Nigerians on social media had a bone to pick with United States athletics legend Michael Johnson over his commentary on the remarkable feat by Nigerian sprint queen Tobi Amusan in the just-ended World Athletics Championship.
Tobi Amusan made history by finishing with a time of 12.12seconds which became a new World Record in the semi-final of the 4×100 hurdles.
Michael Jordan who was part of a BBC commentary team questioned Amusan’s finishing for a number of reasons.
‘I don’t believe 100h (100m hurdles) times are correct. World record broken by .08! 12 PBs (personal bests) set. 5 National records set. And Cindy Sember quote after her PB/NR (national record) ‘I thought I was running slow!’ All athletes looked shocked [sic].
‘Heat 2 we were first shown winning time of 12.53. Few seconds later it shows 12.43. Rounding down by .01 is normal. .10 is not.’
His observations were flatly rejected by Nigerians who accused him for black racism and seeking to belittle the achievement Tobi Amusan.
The angry reactions were not only from Nigerians but from Africans who wondered if Michael Johnson would have made the same statement had Amusan been American.
But Johnson who noticed the backlash defended his opinion, stressing that as a commentator, he is paid to comment on issues at the championship.
He maintained the viewpoint that Amusan’s incredible feat was made possible by other factors.
“As a commentator my job is to comment. In questioning the times of 28 athletes (not 1 athlete) by wondering if the timing system malfunctioned, I was attacked, accused of racism, and of questioning the talent of an athlete I respect and predicted to win. Unacceptable. I move on.”
Amusan who made history in the semi-final of the 100metres hurdles went ahead to grab gold in the final.
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