Ackera Nugent and Masai Russell now favourites to challenge Tobi Amusan in Paris after posting world-leading times

Masai Russell, Tobi Amusan, and Ackera Nugent

Ackera Nugent and Masai Russell now favourites to challenge Tobi Amusan in Paris after posting world-leading times

Funmilayo Fameso 16:09 - 01.07.2024

The US and Jamaican Olympic Trials produced two world-leading performances as Ackera Nugent and Masai Russell blazed to record-breaking times and now stand as top favourites ahead of the Paris Olympic Games.

The women's 100mH is building up nicely as one of the most anticipated events at the Olympic Games, following the world-leading times of Ackera Nugent and Masai Russell at their respective country trials, which now makes them top challengers alongside Tobi Amusan for the title in Paris.

Nugent stormed to a massive Personal Best (PB) and National Record of 12.28s (0.5m/s) to win the 100mH final at the Jamaican Olympic trials, finishing far ahead of reigning world champion Danielle Williams, who ran 12.53s and Janeek brown in 12.61s.

With her mark, the 2023 NCAA indoor and outdoor champion erased French sensation Cyrena Samba-Mayela's world-leading time of 12.31s and became the eighth-fastest woman in the event's history.

Interestingly, her world lead lasted for less than an hour in a pulsating 100mH final at the US Olympic trials, as Russell ran a blistering PB of 12.25s for victory, with Alaysha Johnson and Grace Stark clocking an equal 12.31s to finish second and third.

Russell's time smashed Gail Deever's Championship Record, became the second-fastest by an American woman behind Keni Harrison's former World Record (WR) of 12.20s, and is the fourth-fastest in world history.

Nugent and Russell's times are strong indications that they're in the chat of challenging for the Olympic title in Paris - a situation that raises the question if Amusan remains a top favourite for the gold medal.

Ackera Nugent and Masai Russel at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest

The Nigerian WR holder hasn't replicated the performance crucial enough to be a top contender, as her Season's Best (SB) of 12.40s back in May has been bettered by eight hurdlers this year.

While one can argue the fact that the 2022 world champion peaks when it matters most for major championships, it's important to note that her rivals are also gunning for the same goal and their confidence is on a high to improve on their times on the grandest stage.

Tobi Amusan | Imago

Nugent, Russell, and Samba-Mayela - the top three leaders this season will be making their Olympic debut and will want to make it count, while it'll be Amusan's third following a fourth-place finish in Tokyo.

Her motivation to improve on this position and her experience through the years will be deciding factors in her quest to become the Olympic champion. However, she knows it won't be an easy walk considering the new girls and her long-time rivals Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Danielle Williams.

Come what may, the women's 100mH event in Paris is shaping up to be one of the fastest ever as the Olympic Record of 12.30s will most likely be smashed, and whoever wins the historic race has rightly earned it to be in books as one of the best in history.