TOKYO, JAPAN (KTSM) – A pair of former UTEP track and field stars advanced to the finals of their events at the Olympics on Sunday in Tokyo.
Tobi Amusan (Nigeria) the 2017 NCAA champion in the women’s 100 meter hurdles, finished first in her semifinal heat of the 100m hurdles at Olympic Stadium, crossing the line in 12.62 seconds.
The first place finish automatically qualified Amusan for the Olympic final, which will air live on KTSM-TV at 8:50 p.m. MT Sunday night in the United States.
Considered a favorite to make the podium in Tokyo, Amusan entered the Games ranked fourth in the world in the 100m hurdles.
“Since 2019 it’s always been, ‘oh Tobi is always a medal contender,'” Amusan told KTSM before the Olympics. “But this year, I don’t just want to be a medal contender, I want to be a force to be reckoned with at the Games.”
The Nigerian will look to do just that in front of an international audience in the 100m hurdles final in Tokyo.
She wasn’t the only former Miner to advance to an Olympic final on Sunday. 2-time NCAA champion Emmanuel Korir (Kenya) is headed to the finals in the men’s 800 meters, after finishing second in his semifinal heat in 1:44.74, 14 hundreths of a second behind Patryk Dobek of Poland.
Running just hours after he was disqualified for a false start in the men’s 400 meters, Korir kicked down the stretch to earn himself a top-2 finish and an automatic spot in Wednesday’s final. Considered a medal favorite, Korir has the second-best odds to win the 800m gold medal, according to Fan Duel
The 800m final will be held Wednesday, Aug. 4 at 6:05 a.m. MT in Tokyo.
Unfortunately, Korir’s UTEP and Kenya teammate Michael Saruni did not qualify for the final in the 800m. Despite running a season-best time of 1:44.54, Saruni finished in sixth place in his heat, with a time that wasn’t good enough to qualify him for the final. His stay in Tokyo has now come to a close.