BLESSING OKAGBARE is Nigeria’s 100m Champion for the SIXTH time – Day 1 RECAP from Nigerian Trials!

20 Jun

On Thursday Afternoon, Nigeria’s sprint queen Blessing Okagbare was the highlight of Day 1 of the National Athletics Championships, as she won a SIXTH CONSECUTIVE 100 metre national crown, a title she has not relinquished since she wrestled it from former sprinter queen Oludamola Osayomi in 2009.

Okagbare is mobbed by Nigerian media and fans alike following her 100m win at the Nigerian Trials

Okagbare is mobbed by Nigerian media and fans alike following her 100m win at the Nigerian Trials

Just a couple of hours before her win, Blessing had won her semi-final impressively in 11.10s, easing down right from about 60 metres with an already sizeable lead, while Gloria Asumnu had won the other semi with an impressive Season’s Best (SB) of 11.15s, her fastest run since the London 2012 Olympics! This set the final up for another tantalising match up between the two US-based athletes. As expected, Okagbare retained her crown running her SB of 11.06s, while Asumnu finished 2nd in 11.17s.

Okagbare and Asumnu at at the start-line of the 100 metre final at the Nigerian Trials

Okagbare and Asumnu at the start-line of the 100 metre final at the 2014 Nigerian Trials

In a blanket finish for the distant third place, with only five hundredths of a seconds between third and sixth, home-based athlete Justina Sule came home in 11.63s, winning her first ever medal in the 100 metres at the National Championships, having competing there since 2004! Despite finishing over half a second behind Okagbare, it was very clear to see what the third place finish meant to her, her Ado-Ekiti based coach, and her people!

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Other highlights of Day 1 included the men’s 100 metres, where recent ‘convert’ to Nigeria, Mark Jelks, running the fastest time in the 100m heats (10.12s) by some distance. Defending Champion Ogho-Oghene Egwero only managed 10.30s winning his heat, while former Champion Obinna Metu on his comeback trail won his heat in 10.25s, ahead of fast-improving youngster Divine Oduduru who ran a lifetime best of 10.30s. Others to watch out for who ran well in the heats include Peter Emelieze (10.23s) and UK-based Seye Ogunlewe. The men’s 100m semi-finals and finals today promise to be exciting!

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The women’s 400 metres, Nigeria’s STRONGEST event at the moment, was also a highlight of Day 1, with all FIVE of Nigeria’s World Relay Bronze-winning team on show. The most impressive was undoubtedly Regina George, who made it look easy winning her heat in an SB of 51.30s. She will be looking to improve her PB of 50.84s, set at the World Championships in Moscow, in the final today! Other impressive qualifiers were her fellow world relay medallists, Sade Abugan (51.54s), Patience Okon George (51.94s) and Omolara Omotosho (52.13s), while Ada Benjamin (52.35s) pipped Bukola Abogunloko (52.70s) for the win in the final heat. The final is stacked, and if we’re lucky we could see at least 3 of these girls running under 51 seconds soon, if not today!

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Finally, there is an intriguing contest developing in the women’s 100 metre hurdles. US-based Amaka Ogoegbunam won the 1st semi-final in13.52s, while yet another new ‘convert’ from the US, Nicole Denby took the 2nd semi in 13.32s, ahead of defending champion Ugonna Ndu (also US-based) in 13.53s, setting up a tantalising prospect for the final – are American athletes switching allegiance about to take over Team Nigeria for the Commonwealth Games? All will be clear after Days 2 and 3 of the Nigerian Trials – stay tuned!

Nicole Denby, Nigeria's latest 'convert' to switch from USA, won her 100m Hurdles semi-final at the 2014 Nigerian Trials in 13.32s, ahead of Defending Champion Ugonna Ndu in 13.53s

Nicole Denby, Nigeria’s latest ‘convert’ to switch from USA, won her 100m Hurdles semi-final at the 2014 Nigerian Trials in 13.32s, ahead of Defending Champion Ugonna Ndu in 13.53s

One Response to “BLESSING OKAGBARE is Nigeria’s 100m Champion for the SIXTH time – Day 1 RECAP from Nigerian Trials!”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Making of Champions is RECRUITING! 4 CHAMPIONS needed to lead PROJECT RIO! | Making of Champions - August 23, 2014

    […] of Team Nigeria at domestic and international competitions – the World Relays in the Bahamas, the Nigerian Trials in Calabar, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and most recently the African Championships in Morocco, which […]

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