Tag Archives: Blessing Okagbare

Nigeria’s Asumnu and Duncan lead Africa’s chase for 4x100m honours @ Continental Cup

13 Sep

Team Nigeria dominated the women’s 4x100m at the African Championships in Marrakech last month after Blessing Okagbare led the team to a fourth consecutive title in 43.56s, ahead of Cote d’Ivoire (43.99s) and Ghana (44.06s).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

However it is a mixed grill that will make an appearance at the forthcoming IAAF Continental Cup, comprising of two Nigerians, an Ivoirian and a South African. Nigeria’s Gloria Asumnu (No.36 with 11.15s) and Dominique Duncan would be in action for Team Africa in what has been an eventful season. The pair picked silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with the 4x100m team, and then struck gold in Marrakech last month. They will be joined by African Championship Silver Medallist in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, Marie J Ta Lou Gonezie (No. 43 with 11.20s) of Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa’s Justine Palframan.

Unfortunately, the absence of the continent’s top two athletes, Blessing Okagbare (No. 2 with 10.85s) and Murielle Ahouré (No. 6 with 10.97s) at the Continental Cup will be sorely felt by friends and foes alike, as their presence would have raised the bar in terms of the level of competition, and bridged the gap between the hosts and their opponents.  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The star-studded Americas team will be led by world No. 2 (held jointly with Okagbare), Michelle Lee-Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago (10.85s) and has Diamond League trophy winner and Commonwealth silver medallist, Veronica Campbell-Brown (No. 4 with 10.86s), Tianna Bartoletta (No. 5 with 10.92s), Samantha Henry-Robinson (No. 7 with 11.00s) and Joanna Atkins (No. 11 with 11.02s) in tow. They would no doubt be the side to watch out for at the event.

Just like their male counterparts, European champions Great Britain will be representing their continent in the relay. The team is No. 3 on the IAAF 2014 Rankings, just behind Jamaica and the USA with a time of 42.21s. They won the 4x100m race at the European Championship in Zurich with a National Record (NR) of 42.25s, which eclipses the time of 42.43s set at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Competing for Team Europe are Desiree Henry (No. 50 with 11.21s), Ashleigh Nelson (No. 41 with 11.19s), Anyika Onuora and Asha Philip (No. 40 with 11.18s) No.3 with 42.21s

Asian champions Japan occupy the 33rd  spot on the world rankings with 43.74s and Yuki Jimbo, Yuki Miyazawa, Mizuki Nakamura, Maho Takamori and Tomoka Tsuchihashi make up the Asian-Pacific team.

 

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Gloria Asumnu (NGR), Dominique Duncan (NGR), Marie J Ta Lou Gonezie (CIV) and Justine Palframan (RSA) will be representing Team Africa in the women’s 4x100m on Saturday Sept 13th at 9.40pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Regina George stood in for Blessing Okagbare at the 4x100m award ceremony, as Blessing had already left Marrakech on the day of the ceremony!)

Dominique Duncan goes head-to-head with Schippers, Soumaré in 200m @ Continental Cup!

12 Sep

Team Nigeria’s Dominique Duncan is set to take her place amongst some of the world’s best athletes in the women’s 200m as the IAAF Continental Cup takes off in Morocco this weekend.

Duncan first donned the green and white colours this year, having switched allegiance from the USA, and she placed third at the National Trials with a time of 23.91s, behind Blessing Okagbare (22.62s) and Gloria Asumnu (23.54s).

Her first outing for Nigeria was at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where she competed in the 200m and 4x100m relay. She missed out on an appearance in the final of the 200m but took silver in the relay with the team, which finished behind Jamaica in the final with a time of 42.92s.

She was at the African Championships in Marrakech a week later, where she claimed her first continental title in the relays, then comfortably led her heat in the 200m. She finished second behind Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie J Ta Lou in the semis, clocking 23.44s, and qualified for the final alongside team mates, defending champion, Gloria Asumnu and Regina George.

The race was a battle for superiority between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire’s duo of Ta Lou and double silver medallist at the 2013 World Championships, Murielle Ahouré. However it turned out to be 1-2 for the Ivoirians, with Ahouré taking the win in 22.36s, while Duncan was the surprise medallist from the Nigerian camp, winning bronze in 22.98s. Asumnu and George placed fifth and sixth respectively.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

She said, “This medal is a victory for the team. Some may have thought that I didn’t stand a chance against Ahouré, but you always have to believe. You speak into existence and it happens. I was trying to get up here to get a medal that I can take home and I’m pretty pleased with it. The Continental Cup means more training; it’s just a mental thing and you need to be prepared for it.”

She is ranked No. 31 in the world with a Season’s Best (SB) of 22.82s, while teammate, Ta Lou, incidentally, is five places lower with 22.87s. 

World No. 2 and European double sprint champion, Dafne Schippers (22.03s) of the Netherlands is the standout athlete to watch out for, along with Myriam Soumaré (No. 3) who posted a scorching Personal Best (PB) of 22.11s at the final leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Brussels. Joanna Atkins (No. 7 with 22.27s) and Team Americas partner, Anthonique Strachan (No. 12 with 22.50s) are also key contenders in the race. Their Asian-Pacific rivals comprise of Olga Safronova, (No. 34) with 22.85s, while Melissa Breen is further down at the 158th spot (23.37s).

 

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Dominique Duncan will be representing Team Africa in the women’s 200m on Sunday Sept 14th at 7.35pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

IMG_1415 copy

Okagbare finishes 6th in 200m, while Gatlin, Barshim steal the limelight as curtains fall on 2014 Diamond League

5 Sep

Blessing Okagbare’s campaign in the 2014 IAAF Diamond League ended in an anti-climax as the Commonwealth double sprint champion posted her slowest time in the series in Brussels , placing sixth in the 200m in 22.60s and missing out on the $50,000 at stake in the process.

Olympic champion, Allyson Felix could not be denied as she dominated the field with a world lead of 22.02s, which was 0.01s faster than the former time set by Dafne Schippers in last month’s European Championships. Prior to the event, the American was leading the rankings with 13 points, while Okagbare followed with 11 points, and the 200m was meant to be a two horse race between the pair.

And though the Nigerian enjoyed a good start, it was Felix who clearly led the rest of the field as they came off the bend, providing the perfect impetus for French athlete, Myriam Soumaré, who set a Personal Best of 22.11s, to trail in her wake, while Schippers finished in third with 22.30s. In the final standings, Felix soared above the rest with a massive 21 points, while Blessing followed with 11 points and Schippers with 6 points. 

Okagbare would have needed to go faster than Mary Onyali’s African Record of 22.07s to have any chance of winning, but she would have needed to finish ahead of Felix and possibly break 22 seconds to take the Diamond League Trophy – she is still waiting for the first one of her career. That said, it has been an eventful season for Okagbare whose final stop for 2014 will be at the IAAF Continental Cup, where she is expected to feature in the 100m and anchor the women’s 4x100m. She set a 200m Personal Best of 22.23s in Oregon, claimed the sprint double at the Commonwealth Games with a CR of 10.85s in the 100m and 20.25s in the 200m, and then regained the African title in the shorter sprint as well, in 11 seconds flat!

The standout athlete of the evening was Justin Gatlin, whose exploits were unrivalled, as he blew away the rest if the field in a scintillating fashion to claim the sprint double with ease. He claimed the 100m with a world lead of 9.77s, ahead of Michael Rodgers (9.93s) and Asafa Powell (9.95s), while team mate, Tyson Gay finished in sixth place  with 10.01s. Less than an hour later he sprinted to the 200m crown in 19.71s, while Qatar’s Femi Ogunode was second in 20.15s and Alonso Edward in third with 20.26s.

Qatar’s Essa Mutaz Barshim was outstanding in the final leg of the Diamond League High Jump, as he made two attempts at the World Record (WR) in the men’s high jump (2.46), before settling for a world lead, Area Record (AR), Meeting Record (MR) and second best jump of all time with his leap of 2.43m, with fierce rival, European champion and record holder, Bohdan Bondarenko coming second in 2.40m, after unsuccessfully attempting a shot at the WR himself.

Another $50,000 up for grabs, as Okagbare chases 200m African Record & Diamond League Trophy!

4 Sep

Final stop…Brussels. The 2014 IAAF Diamond League series will wind off with an explosive second final in Brussels on September 5th, with Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare as one of the top contenders for the women’s 200m race, which is one of the 16 events scheduled to hold on Friday.

The first final took place last week in Zurich, Switzerland where Okagbare narrowly missed the highly coveted $50,000 prize money in the women’s 100m ($10,000 for the Zurich win, and $40,000 for the overall 100m Diamond Race trophy in 2014), finishing third in 11.06s behind Veronica Campbell-Brown and Murielle Ahouré who both posted 11.04s in a photo finish, in the absence of world leader, Tori Bowie who bowed out due to injury. Instead, Blessing only got $4,000 for her 3rd place in that race, emphasising the fine margins in this sport – 0.03s faster in Zurich would have made her $46,000 richer!

She would be seeking to make amends this time around, but will have to battle Allyson Felix and Dafne Schippers for the 200m in Brussels, and it will be her fifth 200m in the Diamond League series this year (after Shanghai, Eugene, Paris and Glasgow). Both Felix and Schippers beat Okagbare to the line in the Glasgow leg, so she will be wary of the threat they both pose. The only other woman to beat her over 200m this season is Bowie, but she is out due to injury, meaning that only Okagbare or Felix can still win the 200m Diamond Race trophy:

image

Standings before FINAL race (Brussels). Diamond League competitors get 4 points for a win,2 points for 2nd place, and 1 point for 3rd, but these points are DOUBLED for the final race!

Felix, who has a Season’s Best (SB) of 22.34s, currently tops the Diamond League standings with 13 points, while Okagbare follows closely with 11 points. The Nigerian, who has concentrated majorly on the 200m this season and posted an SB of 22.23s in Eugene, had dominated the event in the Diamond League, prior to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and African Championships in Marrakech. However she conceded her lead to Felix, having missed out of the Stockholm leg of the series. 

Okagbare would also have to contend with Schippers, the world leader in the event, and the only woman to get anywhere close to breaking 22 seconds this season. The Dutch athlete stormed to the European sprint double title with a National Record (NR) of 22.03s in the 200m and 11.12s in the 100m. She won the Glasgow leg of the race and occupies fourth position in the rankings with four points. Other athletes competing in the event include American duo Joanna Atkins (22.27s) and Jeneba Tarmoh (22.41s), Team GB’s Jodie Williams (22.46s) and Anthonique Starchan (22.50s) of the Bahamas.

This final race of the season could see the first sub-22 in the 200 metres since Allyson Felix performed the feat to win Olympic GOLD at London 2012. Blessing, in her exclusive interview with MAKING OF CHAMPIONS during the African Championships in Marrakech, revealed that she wants to break Mary Onyali’s 200m African Record (22.07s) this season, and this would be her last chance to do it! She may have to do that and more, given the form that Schippers is in this season!

Permutations

With only 4 points from her win in Glasgow, Schippers is not in contention for the 200m Diamond Race Crown and $40,000 prize money. It’s a two-way fight between Okagbare and Felix. Blessing will need to finish ahead of Allyson and get some points on the board to win the trophy. Points are doubled in this final race (1st, 2nd & 3rd get 8, 4 and 2 points respectively), so if Okagbare is second and Felix is third, they will both finish on 15 points. By “count back” they will still be tied as they have TWO victories apiece this season, and so Blessing will win the trophy on the final tie-break criteria – the better result in this race!

Same would apply if Okagbare is third – Felix must finish behind her for both of them to finish on 13 points, and for Blessing to win the trophy. In short, even in Schippers wins on the night, Okagbare can still win the Diamond Race, but it’s certainly advantage Felix as she has more points on the board currently!

The Diamond Race champions of eight of the 16 events have already been decided, though the athletes must compete in their discipline in Brussels to secure the $40,000 bonus and Diamond Trophy. They are Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (110 Hurdles), Novlene Williams-Mills (400m), Jairus Birech (3000m steeplechase), Eunice Sum (800m), Renaud Lavillenie (Pole vault), Kaliese Spencer (400m Hurdles), Caterine Ibarguen (Triple Jump) and Valerie Adams (Shot put).

Former Nigerian athlete, Femi Ogunode (20.06s) of Qatar will be competing in the 200m which is not a Diamond League event, and he will go against African 400m champion and silver medallist in the 200m, Isaac Makwala (19.96s), world leader Justin Gatlin (19.68s), Christophe Lemaitre (20.08s) and Alonso Edward (19.84s).

In the women’s 400m hurdles, Bahrain’s Kemi Adekoya (54.59s) who controversially switched from competing for Nigeria to Bahrain this year, will be competing against the fastest woman in the event this year, Kaliese Spencer (53.41s), whose presence already guarantees her the trophy and $40,000 bonus. The Jamaican tops the standings with a whopping 22 points and has been impressive all season. African champion, Wenda Theron (54.82s) will also be in action.

(Athletes’ SBs are in brackets)

The Zurich Diamond League will be shown LIVE on SuperSports 2 from 7-9pm on Friday, with Blessing’s 200m race at 8.04pm SHARP! YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS!

Okagbare rues missed chance in 100m Diamond League Final, seeks redemption in 200m!

30 Aug
The absence of world leader and major contender for the jackpot in the women’s 100m, Tori Bowie at the Zurich leg of the IAAF Diamond League, was meant to be a blessing in disguise (no pun intended) for Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, but it was Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown who stole the show at the end of the day as she coasted home in 11.04s, to win the $50,000 at stake.

Murielle Ahouré was a close second (also in 11.04s), while Okagbare posted 11.06s in third place in the first series of finals for the Diamond League, which ends with a second series of finals on September 5th in Brussels, where she will be going for the 200m, and where 15 other events would be decided.

Bowie pulled out of the Zurich 100m due to injury she sustained in the Birmingham leg of the meet, which made Zurich a winner takes all affair as anyone who won it could have taken home the 100m Diamond Race crown. Prior to the race, Okagbare occupied 6th place in the 100m standings, and victory in Zurich would have handed her the top prize as long as Kerron Stewart, who occupied 2nd place in the Race with 7 points, did not finish as the runner-up; the Jamaican finished a distant fifth in 11.19s and Blessing would no doubt be ruing her lost chance. A win in the final would have been the African & Commonwealth Champion’s first ever in the Diamond League series.

Okagbare has run more 200m races than 100 this year, as the race in Zurich was only her fourth in the Diamond League. However, she was sensational in the Commonwealth where she claimed the sprint double with a Championship Record (CR) of 10.85s in the 100m, and 22.25s in the 200m. Even though she confessed in Marrakech, venue of the African Senior Championships, that she was already tired and hoping to bring her season to an end in Brussels, she will be hoping to bounce back to take the 200m in Brussels, where she is a top contender for the prize, currently in second place with 11 points, behind Allyson Felix who reached 13 points following the Nigerian’s absence in Stockholm a little over a week ago.

Not only would she have Felix to deal with in Brussels, but also Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands who recently posted a National Record (NR) and world leading time of 22.03s at the European Championships!

Blessing Okagbare beats Murielle Ahouré to claim 100m African Title!

12 Aug

Only GOLD is good enough for Nigeria’s sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare and the reigning Commonwealth Double Sprint Champion added one more precious metal to her kitty as she clocked 11 seconds flat to beat fierce rival, Murielle Ahouré in the women’s 100m on Day Two of the African Athletics Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.

The race, which was one of the highlights at the Grande De Stade in Marrakech, was a close one but Okagbare’s longer strides came in handy as she pulled through just ahead of Ahouré and another Ivorian Marie Ta Lou Gonezie won Silver and Bronze with 11.03s and 11.20s respectively. Okagbare thus regained her African crown that she lost to Gabon’s Ruddy Zang Milama in the last edition of the championships held in Port Novo in 2012.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Moscow 2013 double medallist has been in brilliant form in the build up to the championships, going by her exploits at the Commonwealth Games where she posted an outstanding performance, winning the 100m with a scorching 10.85s, and then adding the 200m gold in 22.25s just three days later. Speaking with journalists after winning this latest African title, Okagbare revealed that following her Commonwealth Double she had to push hard for the win in Marrakech:

“I am very happy to have won the title because I just wanted to win for my fans and do my country proud. Just coming straight from the Commonwealth Games, my body is tired, but my coach told me to just focus and execute the race, which was what I did.”

“Of course the competition was stiffer at the Commonwealth Games, but that is not to take anything away from Murielle Ahoure. She is a great athlete. It was good that we had three Nigerians in the final – I am hoping that we can have this kind of representation on a bigger platform, like the World Championships and the Olympics.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Her Nigerian teammates, Gloria Asumnu and Lawreta Ozoh finished 4th and 7th respectively with 11.49s and 11.74s. Okagbare’s medal is Nigeria’s first GOLD at these championships, elevating Nigeria to 3rd on the medals table with one GOLD, one Silver and three Bronze medals. South Africa occupy top spot with four GOLD, three Silver and one Bronze medal, followed by Cote d’Ivoire with one GOLD, two Silver and a Bronze medal.

Okagbare and Ahouré set to renew sprint rivalry for African 100m & 200m titles!

6 Aug

Fresh from winning the sprint double at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare will be looking to win both the 100m and 200m titles when the 19th African Senior Championships get underway in Marrakech, Morocco from August 10 to 14.

However this will be no ride in the park as she renews her rivalry with Cote d’Ivoire’s Murielle Ahouré, who would also be aiming for the same, as she comes to the championship as the World Silver Medallist over the 100m and 200m, a feat she achieved by getting the better of Okagbare over both distances (Blessing finished 6th and 3rd respectively). The Ivorian became the first African woman to win a medal in the sprints at the World Championships, while Okagbare was the second to do so, with her bronze medal in the 200m in Moscow last year.

All that said, based on current form and barring any injuries, Okagbare is the favourite to clinch both medals, following her impressive outing in Glasgow where she won the 100m with a Commonwealth Games record of 10.85s, her fastest this year, and the 200m in 22.25s. Ahouré is directly behind Okagbare in the continental rankings this season, with her times of 10.97s over 100m and 22.61s in the 200m. The pair have met once over the 200m this season, at the Eugene leg of the Diamond League, where the Nigerian finished 2nd with a PB of 22.23s, and Ahouré was 4th, in a race that proved to be the break out race for USA’s Tori Bowie, who is the fastest woman over the 100m and 200m this year. 

The duo have also gone head to head twice in the 100m in the Diamond League this season. In Lausanne, Okagbare slipped and did not complete the race, while Ahouré finished 2nd in 10.98s. The final meeting between the pair was in the 100m in Monaco last month, where Ahouré got the edge over her Nigerian rival as she finished in 3rd with her SB of 10.97s, while Okagbare followed closely with the same time in 4th.

After winning a Silver two years ago in the 100m, Blessing will be hoping to go one better at both distances this time around, although not if Ahouré has anything to say about it! The defending 100m Champion, Gabon’s Ruddy Zang Milama is only 6th fastest in Africa this year in 11.24s, so it would be a surprise if she were able to beat Okagbare this time around! 

Also watch out for defending 200m African Champion and 100m Bronze Medallist from 2012, Gloria Asumnu. She looks like a good bet for Bronze in the 100m as she is Africa’s No. 3 this year, though if she does compete in the 200m this time around, she will likely have to improve her SB of 23.28s to dip below 23 seconds and be in contention for a 200m medal!

Women’s 100m Schedule: Aug 10th – Round 1 @ 9.30am, Semis @ 8.35pm; Aug 11th – FINAL @ 6pm

Women’s 200m Schedule: Aug 13th – Round 1 @ 9.30am, Semis @ 6.40pm; Aug 14th – FINAL @ 8.45pm

(NB: This program is liable to change according to the number of participants and the local conditions)

African womens 100m list finalAfrican womens 200m list final

Okagbare strikes 200m GOLD on Terrific Thursday for Team Nigeria!

1 Aug

It was a glorious night for Team Nigeria on Thursday at Hampden Park in Glasgow as TWO GOLD medals were won in Athletics in the space of 15 minutes of each other, first with Ese Brume claiming a brilliant GOLD medal in the Long Jump, and Blessing Okagbare taking to the track immediately after to complete a dominant Commonwealth sprint double, as she triumphed in the 200m in a time of 22.25s to add to the 100m title she won on Monday! Team England occupied the 2nd, 3rd and 4th as Jodie Williams, Bianca Williams and Anyika Onuora all set new PBs, with the Jamaicans surprisingly occupying three of the last four positions for a change:

Blessing started the 200m as the overwhelming championship favourite, going by her standing as the No.1 in the Commonwealth with a PB of 22.23s this season, as well as being the Diamond Race leader. She dominated the heats on with the fastest time (22.99s) and was phenomenal in the semi-final where she won comfortably in 22.43s – she looked in the kind of form that could possibly break the Games Record (22.20s) or even the African Record (22.07s). Though she was unable to get the Games Record as she did in the 100m, winning her first global titles in such dominant fashion has truly re-affirmed Blessing’s pedigree as a possible future World and Olympic Champion.

The future certainly looks bright for Blessing, who is still No. 3 on Nigeria’s all-time list for the 200 metres, behind Mary Onyali (22.07s) and Falilat Ogunkoya (22.22s). She will certainly have plenty of opportunities in the years to come to become Nigeria’s and Africa’s fastest ever over the 200m, and we can now look forward with excitement towards the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympics. Okagbare’s existing and emerging rivalries are set to make the women’s sprints a tantalising prospect over the next two years – will Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce rediscover the form that saw her win the sprint double at the World Championships last year? Will USA’s Tori Bowie, the fastest woman in the world this year in both sprints continue her phenomenal progression, having only just recently switched from the Long Jump? Exciting times lay ahead!

On Friday and Saturday, Blessing will most likely return to the track as part of Nigeria’s 4×100 team, in a quest to grab Team Nigeria’s first global sprint relay medal since the Beijing ’08 Olympics! A quartet which included Okagbare and Gloria Asumnu came within a hundredth of a second of winning a Bronze medal at the inaugural World Relays in the Bahamas in May, and they will be looking to go at least one better at these Games! Can she lead Team Nigeria to another medal before the week runs out? We won’t have long to find out!

 

Blessing Okagbare opts out of Long Jump to chase 200m GLORY @ C’wealth Games!

30 Jul

Blessing Okagbare fans could well be in for a treat and a complete spectacle in the women’s 200m at the Commonwealth Games, as the newly crowned 100m Commonwealth Champion is the red hot favourite to complete the sprint double with the 200 metre crown on Thursday night! Such is Blessing’s class beyond the rest of the Commonwealth field in the 200m, that it may simply be Blessing versus the clock. She took Debbie Ferguson’s 100m Commonwealth Games Record on Monday night, and may just take the same woman’s 200m Games Record (22.20s) on Thursday. The big question is: does Blessing just want the GOLD, or does she want to lay down a marker for years to come, by attacking Mary Onyali’s 18-year-old 200m African Record of 22.07 seconds?

Okagbare has been imperious form in the 200m this year, having made it her event of focus recently, despite starting out as a long jumper and then a 100m sprinter. She is 2nd fastest in the world this year with a PB of 22.23s, behind USA’s Tori Bowie (22.18s), she holds FOUR of the 10 fastest times this season and is leading the 200m Diamond Race. Her closest Commonwealth  competitor is Anthonique Strachan, the 2012 Double World Junior Champion and 9th fastest in the world this year with 22.50s, but she has inexplicably not been entered for the 200m – one imagines it could only be due to injury:

2014 CWG Womens 200 list FINAL

That leaves her main threat once again most likely to come from the Jamaicans – McLaughlin, Henry-Robinson and Calvert, who are 6th, 11th and 13th respectively in the Commonwealth this season, but ALL half a second slower than Okagbare. England’s Jodie Williams is the fastest Commonwealth athlete after Blessing competing in the 200m, after setting a PB of 22.60s this season, and while Williams will be a home nations favourite for a medal, she will almost certainly be fighting with the Jamaicans for Silver and Bronze!

An interesting sub-plot is Dominique Duncan’s first outing in an individual event for Nigeria, after switching from Team USA and coming within a hundredth of second to 4x100m Bronze at the World Relays with Team Nigeria! She’s No. 10 in the Commonwealth this year with a PB of 22.82s in April, and if she can replicate that she could also be in amongst the medals. That said, she only ran 23.91s in placing 3rd at the Nigerian Trials in June, so it will be interesting to see what kind of form she is coming into the Games with!

Some Okagbare fans will be disappointed to learn that she opted NOT to compete in the Long Jump at these Games – her compatriot Ese Brume competed in the Heats for that event on Wednesday morning, qualifying for the finals which will take place on Thursday evening, in between the women’s 200 metres semis and finals! From a scheduling point of view, it would have been virtually impossible for Okagbare to attempt TWO 200m races and SIX jumps in the Long Jump on the same night! She has taken the wisest decision, as the sprint double will be the far more widely recognised feat than the 100m and Long Jump combination!

One might recall that last year, Blessing failed to win a 100m medal in the World Championship final because she had taken 6 jumps the night before to win Long Jump Silver, and didn’t have enough time to recover to successfully execute two rounds of the 100m the next day. Clearly, the ‘scheduling gods’ are not working in her favour – global meet organisers will have to accord her the same privilege that they once showed to the likes of Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, arranging their schedules around these superstars, if we’re ever going to see her attempt to go for THREE individual medals at major competitions!

Blessing is already Africa’s fastest woman ever in the 100m after smashing Glory Alozie’s 14-year-old record last year. The big question on Thursday will be, does she want a ‘Double Portion’ and take the 200m African Record as well? With her 10.85 second 100-metre speed in awesome display on Monday, something tells us that if Blessing decides she wants to re-write the 200 metre history books on Thursday night, she just might!

MoC PREDICTION: Barring injury, Nigeria’s favourite daughter Blessing Okagbare will WIN 200m GOLD on Thursday night, and could get the Commonwealth Games Record of 22.20s, but she might not yet be ready to break Mary Onyali’s African Record (22.07s). Even if she doesn’t get the record, we may  be about to witness the BIGGEST EVER winning margin in a global 200m final, since a certain Usain Bolt, ofcourse!

Dominique Duncan should make the final of the 200 metres, and getting a medal would be a huge boost for the 24-year-old. But can she put three rounds of 200 metres together in two days and run fast enough in the final to be in medal contention? The honest truth is that we have not seen enough of her to make a firm prediction on that just yet!

Round 1 of the Commonwealth Games 200 metres kicks off TONIGHT (Wednesday), with Blessing Okagbare in Heat 1 at 9.15pm and Dominique Duncan in Heat 6 at 9.45pmDON’T MISS IT!

The semi-finals start at 6.07pm on Thursday, with the Final shortly after at 8.45pm!

 

 

Blessing Okagbare’s path to the 100m Commonwealth GOLD – Round 1, Semi & FINAL Races!!

29 Jul

Re-live Blessing Okagbare’s path to Commonwealth 100m Glory last night by checking out ALL her runs, from the Heats to the Final! Effortless ease in the Heats and Semis, incredible composure in the Final!

HEATS

SEMI-FINAL

FINAL

 

athletic heat

The best of Nigerian Athletics

Voomfootball

Premier League news, features and tactical analysis

Sports with Enee

A personal commentary of sports issues in Nigeria and the world

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.