Blessing’s Triple Threat for the World Champs!!!

1 Aug

On Saturday July 27th 2013, Blessing finally broke Glory Alozie’s 14 year old African 100m record at the London Anniversary Games – and she lowered it twice in the space of 90 minutes!

As you can probably see from our latest teaser, it comes as no surprise to me that she has finally written Alozie’s time of 10.90s out of the record books – Ever since she ran a slightly wind-assisted 10.75s in Eugene on the 1st of June (+2.2m/s wind), I knew that it was only a matter of time before she would run a legal sub 10.90 secs (any time with 2.0m/s tailwind or less is deemed legal for record purposes). The next chance she had to do it was on July 6th at the Paris leg of the Diamond League. Incidentally, that was the same day we were in Madrid meeting with Glory Alozie, who was still the holder of the 100m African record until the London Anniversary Games – and Glory was very bullish about and supportive of Blessing’s chances of taking her record the very day we met with her. Unfortunately for Blessing that night, she dipped prematurely a few metres from the line to finish in 2nd place behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in a time 10.93s. Once again, the keen observer would have noted that she had an African record in her this season…

The plot thickens slightly because of a 10.84s run that Chioma Ajunwa (Africa’s Long Jump record holder) did at the National Stadium in Lagos that was never ratified because, apparently, the right equipment was not in place to have the time ratified. I was worried that Blessing might break Alozie’s 10.90s and not Ajunwa’s 10.84, in which case Ajunwa’s time might have still unofficially cast a cloud over Blessing’s record. This turned out to be the case for less than 90 minutes on Saturday, Blessing first ran 10.86s in the semi-finals, but then came back for the final to lower the record further to 10.79s – undisputed champion! Very pleased that she has done it right before the World Championships starting in less than 2 weeks now – it shows that she’s peaking at the right stage of the season, and she will go to there full of confidence that she is a Gold medal contender in the 100 metres!

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I say that Blessing is a Triple Threat in Moscow (August 10th – 18th) because I am convinced that she is about to do something unprecedented and unheard of for Nigerian Athletics. Nigeria has not won a single World Championship medal in 6 consecutive attempts. Nigeria’s last medals were won in Seville ’99 by Francis Obikwelu (200m Bronze) and Glory Alozie (100m Hurdles Silver), who incidentally switched to represent Portugal and Spain respectively, both in 2001. Blessing is a realistic contender for 3 Gold medals – the 100m, 200m and the Long Jump. Her form in all 3 events this season suggests that she will likely get some colour of medal in each – she is currently 2nd, 4th and 3rd in the world this year (10.79s, 22.31s and 7.00m) respectively in those 3 events. Her obvious height advantage over the other girls is already drawing comparisons to Usain Bolt, and if she does get three Golds at the Worlds, then comparisons to both Usain Bolt and Carl Lewis (the last world class sprinter to combine those three events), will not be misplaced!!

What is my prediction for the World Championship for Nigeria (which basically means for Blessing, since any other Nigerian medal would come as a huge surprise and bonus)? My heart says that Blessing WILL win 3 GOLDs and help our 4x100m team to sneak a Bronze medal behind the USA and Jamaica (in that order), and just ahead of the likes of Trinidad & Tobago and Ukraine. My head tells me that after winning a medal in the Long Jump (probably silver, behind USA’s Brittany Reese) on August 10th, whether she gets Gold in the 100m or silver behind Shelly-Ann Fraser on August 11th will depend on how well she recovers from the Long Jump the day before.

My big big tip is to watch out for something special from Blessing in the 200 metres (Aug 15th – 17th) – I have been saying since last year when we all saw Blessing at the Olympics that the 200 will undoubtedly become her more dominant event, because her strong finish over the longer sprint will more than make up for her poor start, which is the only thing limiting her now from running sub 10.7 in the 100 metres. In my mind, the only person who could possibly stand in her way is Olympic Champion Allyson Felix, but even she has had an indifferent season, though she did win the final 200m before the Worlds, in London last Friday. One thing is certain for me – whether Blessing gets the Gold or Silver in the 200 metres, she is definitely going to break Mary Onyali’s 18-year old African record of 22.07 in Moscow – she will certainly have to anyway to get a medal. Does Blessing have what it takes to break 22 seconds in the 200 metres? For a girl in the form of her life with a 10.79s PB in the 100 metres, I’ll leave you to answer that question for yourself!

12 Responses to “Blessing’s Triple Threat for the World Champs!!!”

  1. alex Imoudu August 2, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    With you on this for the most part. However, I see her winning 2 gold medals realistically- 100m and 200m and probably a silver/Bronze in the Long Jump. Separately i worry that a national switch is lurking somewhere as well due to limited support. Aside the Delta state Governor/govt, there isn’t much vocal/moral support from the Fed govt and Sports Ministry……I hope I am wrong here and just not in touch with happenings within those circles

    • bambostic August 2, 2013 at 8:21 am #

      Actually, I think her best chances might be in the 200m AND Long Jump…she’s won at least 2 of the Diamond League events in the Long Jump this year and come second (behind USA’s Brittany Reese) in the others she competed in. All it takes is one good jump and she’ll take Chioma Ajunwa’s African Long Jump Record of 7.12m – that should be enough for GOLD, but Reese did jump a legal 7.25m PB in Doha back in May, so we’ll have to see. Anything over 7m (which is Blessing’s PB currently) should get a medal…

      The 100m is a bit trickier I think – SAFP (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce), will still go in as the huge favourite – after all she is the double Olympic Champion in the 100m from 2008 & 2012 and her PB is 10.70s, and she’s definitely a Championship performer. Can Blessing go below 10.70? If she cannot, my head tells me that SAFP might just take her on the line in Moscow. I really hope that doesn’t happen, but I fear that if Blessing does not get the start of her life, SAFP might be the only girl she won’t be able to catch in the last 40 metres…I guess we only have to wait 10 days to find out!

      • Zelex August 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

        Best chance for her to medal is probably the 100 in my opinion, Although I see a medal in the long jump but that event is far more unpredictable, with the russians who have jumped 7.00m and have home support and lets not forget Britney Reese and Deloach. Anyone who has jumped 6.90m this season can medal.

        The 200m, I just think Blessing just has not ran enough races this season. She is going to have to absolutely nail the bend and hopefully the long jump and 100m have not taken a toll on her mentally and physically. I do think though this event is where she has the most potential in (hopefully in the future).

        All in all, I’m hopeful for 2 medals, whatever colour. Go Team Nigeria!!

  2. bambostic August 8, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Zelex, I think Blessing may surprise you in the 200m – don’t forget that she beat Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce over that distance in Birmingham earlier this season! Watch out for a new 200 African Record – I think she’ll lower Mary Onyali’s 22.07 down to 21.7 or 21.8 – you heard it here first!

    The reason you haven’t seen her compete much this season in the 200m is because she’s had to divide her time over the 3 events, but believe me if she comes out of that bend first, nobody is catching her, not even Allyson Felix!

  3. solotutu April 21, 2014 at 1:42 am #

    She’s a runner! I believe therez still alot she would deliver!! Running,building nd developing female atheletes in NG cos there ain’t any new names


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