Tag Archives: Diamond League

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:

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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!

Okagbare could win $50,000 with Zurich Diamond League VICTORY, while Usain Bolt ends his 2014 season early!

28 Aug

Next stop…Zurich. Fans of Nigeria’s No.1 sprinting sensation, Blessing Okagbare will have to wait no more as the athlete resumes action at the IAAF Diamond League on Thursday, August 28 in Zurich, Switzerland where she will compete in the 100m in a STACKED field that includes Veronica Campbell-Brown (SB 10.86s), Murielle Ahouré (10.97s) and Allyson Felix (11.01s) amongst others.

Okagbare took a break from the prestigious series to compete in her first Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (July 23 to August 3) where she claimed the 100/200m sprint double. In the 100m, she breasted the tape in the 100m with a Season’s Best (SB) and Championship Record (CR) of 10.85s, denying former world champion, Campbell-Brown a much sought after victory in the event. The Jamaican is yet to win an individual title at the Commonwealth Games, having won two silver medals in the 100m (2002 and 2014) and another in the 200m (2006).

The Nigerian maintained her stellar performance this season by reclaiming her African title in the 100m at the African Senior Championships in Marrakech where she stormed to the crown with a CR of 11.00s flat, also denying fierce rival, Ahouré of Cote d’Ivoire her first African title in the event. Okagbare however pulled out of the 200m, which Ahouré dominated easily with a time of 22.36s.

Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands will be looking to go under 11 seconds for the first time. The Dutchwoman sneaked in a win in the 200m at the Glasgow leg of the series where she stunned Felix (22.35s) and Okagbare (22.41s) to win the title with a National Record (NR) of 22.34s – she has since lowered the Dutch NR to a world leading 22.03s this season at the European Championships! Her 100m PB of 11.03s set in the B race of the Glasgow Diamond League 100m is also a National Record – not bad for a heptathlete! 

This race is only Okagbare’s fourth 100m in the Diamond League this year, and she is yet to secure a victory in the event. She finished second behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the very first meeting in Doha, but didn’t finish her race in Lausanne after she slipped. She placed fourth in Monaco behind Bowie, Campbell-Brown and Ahoure. She occupies a distant sixth place in the standings with just 2 Diamond League points while Tori Bowie sits at the top with 12 points. However Bowie, who has the world leading time of 10.80s this season, will be the only big name missing. She has had to withdraw after pulling up injured in the 100m in the Birmingham Diamond League meet at the weekend.    

The most fascinating aspect of the IAAF Diamond League, are the double points awarded in the final race of each event, with 16 Diamond Races being decided in Zurich, and the final 16 being decided in Brussels next week! This annual twist in events adds to the excitement of the final races, as an athlete currently ranking in third or fourth place, could change their fortunes just by winning the final race. So while a few races are practically over, in many other races, the athletes will battle till the very last second or centimetre!

The rules also state that one must compete in the final race of their event to win the Diamond Race crown, so despite having amassed a near unassailable lead, Bowie’s absence blows the 200m Diamond Race right open, and means that in a dramatic twist of fate, Okagbare could win her FIRST ever Diamond League crown with a WIN, so long as Kerron Stewart, who currently occupies 2nd place in the Race with 7 points, does not finish as the runner-up in Zurich! 

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Standings before FINAL race (Zurich). 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!

1st place in each Diamond League event takes home $10,000 and the overall winner for the Diamond Race in each event each season takes home $40,000. This means that a $50,000 windfall is at stake for Blessing and her rivals in Zurich – every single woman in the race has a mathematical chance of taking home the 200m Diamond Race Crown!

Meanwhile, $50,000 is small change for the likes of Usain Bolt, so he does not compete regularly in the Diamond League, instead prioritising meets that can afford the appearance fees he commands – anywhere from $250,000 per race, up to $500,000 which he received for the London Anniversary Games last year! He has pulled out of the Zurich meet, bringing an early end to his 2014 campaign. Zurich was meant to be the last competition for the Jamaican multiple world and Olympic champion, who clocked 9.98s in Warsaw on Saturday night to set an unofficial 100m indoor record, previously held by Frankie Fredericks in 10.05s – the 100m is never run indoors, but prior to the race Bolt cheekily asked for the stadium roof to be closed to claim the unofficial record! 

It was only Bolt’s second individual and fourth race of an injury-hampered season. His other two outings were at the Commonwealth Games where he made his debut by anchoring the 4x100m team to gold with a CR of 37.58s. It would have been fun to watch Bolt re-ignite his rivalry with former world champion, Tyson Gay (9.93s) of the US who would be attempting the sprint double in Zurich. Nevertheless, the 100m still promises to be exciting, as Gay’s fellow returnee Asafa Powell, who returned a stunning SB of 9.87s a few days ago in Austin, and newly crowned European 100m & 200m Champions, James Dasaolu and Adam Gemili will also be on show!

The Zurich Diamond League will be shown LIVE on SuperSports 2 from 7-9pm on Thursday, with Blessing’s 100m race at 7.59pm SHARP! YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS!

Regina George & Tosin Oke return to the Diamond League, as Okagbare goes for 200m record

10 Jul

Nigeria’s poster girl in the 400m, Regina George will make a much awaited return to the IAAF Diamond League, in the ninth leg, tagged the ‘Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix’ slated to hold on July 11 and 12 in the Scottish city which will be hosting the Commonwealth Games later this month.

George’s race, which comes up at 8.38pm on Friday (July 11), will count as only the second Diamond League event she has featured in this season. The first was in Shanghai (May 18) where she finished eighth with a time of 51.39s. The 23 year old has not recorded much progress in the individual 400m since then, though she did post a top-notch performance at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas, where she led Nigeria’s 4x400m to a bronze medal with an impressive 49.4s split on the second leg, which was the fastest by any athlete in the race.

Her chase for a third Nigerian title ended in a shock defeat for George, as she finished outside the podium during the national trials held in Calabar last month. Her fellow World Relay Bronze medallists finished ahead of her – Folashade Abugan won the title in 51.39s, with Omolara Omotosho and Patience Okon George crossing the finish line ahead of Regina, who placed fourth with 51.67s.

Nevertheless her victory in Tuesday’s Hungarian Athletics Grand Prix may boost her confidence ahead of Friday’s race, even though she could only manage a winning time of 52.11s. Compatriot Gloria Asumnu also featured in the women’s 100m where she returned a time of 11.58 in fifth place, just after former world champion, Carmelita Jeter who was fourth with an SB of 11.56s.

George comes into the two-day competition with an SB of 51.30s and will face the herculean task of trying to upstage some of the big names in the women’s 400m including Olympic champion, Sanya Richards-Ross who won the event in Paris last week. Former world champion, Amantle Montsho who is the Commonwealth Games defending champion and USA Champion Francena McCorory will also be on ground to spice up the race, alongside the Jamaican duo of Ann Stephanie Ann McPherson and Novlene Williams-Mills. Reigning world champion, Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain is not expected to pose a challenge as she comes to the competition with the slowest SB among the pack (53.14s).

Another Nigerian interest, in the men’s triple jump, is Tosin Oke, who currently doubles as the African and Commonwealth Games champion. The Nigerian champion no doubt wants to test the waters ahead of the Commonwealth Games, and is in form to do so, going by his jump of 17.21m at the national trials in Calabar, which equalled the third best jump of his career. He goes against a star studded field which includes two London 2012 Olympic medallists, Christian Taylor and Will Claye and Cuba’s Ernesto Reve who has an SB of 17.58m. This event comes up on Saturday (July 12) at 3.50pm at Hampden Park.

Last but by no means the least, Nigeria’s sprint queen Blessing Okagbare will once again race in the 200m on Saturday at 4.07pm. The Sainsbury Grand Prix surely holds a special place in the sprinter’s heart, going by her exploits during last year’s edition of the event, which was held in London to commemorate the Olympic Games. The Delta State athlete set a new African record of 10.86s in the heats, which eclipsed Glory Alozie’s existing record of 10.90s, and further lowered her time to win the final an hour later in 10.79s.

Okagbare has been concentrating on the 200m this season and will be looking forward to setting a record over the event soon. She currently tops the Diamond League rankings with 10 points, having won the 200m in Shanghai and Paris, and placed second in Eugene with a Personal Best of 22.23s, making her the third fastest Nigerian of all time, after Mary Onyali (22.07s) and Falilat Ogunkoya (22.22s).  Will the Sainsbury Grand Prix be the place where she sets another African record? World leader, Tori Bowie (22.18s), three-time world champion Allyson Felix and Jamaica’s double world champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce will be forces to contend with come Saturday.

The women’s 100m race comes up on Saturday and Cote d’Ivoire’s Murielle Ahouré will run in the 100m alongside world leader this season, Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle Lee-Ahye (10.85s), Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and USA’s Carmelita Jeter, who is still struggling to hit top form this season. Jeter, the second fastest woman ever and former world champion comes to the meeting with an unimpressive SB of 11.56s.

Also watch out for Botswana’s Isaac Makwala who recently emerged as Africa’s fastest man in the 400m. The sprinter erased Gary Kikaya’s eight-year record of 44.10s with a new time of 44.01s at the Resisprint International meeting in the Switzerland, and then returned a time of 19.96s in the 200m to set another national record just ninety minutes later!

Jamaican star, Yohan Blake is the big name in the men’s 100m which takes place on Friday. He will go against Great Britain’s James Dasaolu, USA’s Michael Rodgers and Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago amongst others.

 

Follow the Glasgow Diamond League LIVE on Supersport, Friday 7-9pm SS6A (DSTV 206), AND Saturday 3-5pm SS2A (DSTV 202)

 

 

Okagbare sets the pace in Paris with 200m victory!

6 Jul

Nigeria’s queen of the track Blessing Okagbare bounced back to winning ways during Saturday’s IAAF Diamond League Meeting at the Stade de France in Paris, where she returned a time of 22.32s to secure a win in the women’s 200m. This feat counts as her third victory in her 2014 Diamond League campaign and ninth overall in her career.

This victory will have re-confirmed Blessing’s position as a favourite for Commonwealth GOLD medals in the sprints later this month. In the 100 metres only two days ago in Lausanne, Okagbare did not finish the race after she stumbled out of the blocks, but she quickly shook off that disappointment and took the day in a keenly contested 200m race, which had the likes of Olympic champion, USA’s Allyson Felix and World Champion over 100m and 200m, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica in tow. 

Okagbare, no doubt aided by her longer strides, held her form well in the final 80m to edge out the stadium record holder Felix, who had taken the lead just around the curve. Felix, a three-time world champion, finished with a Season’s Best (SB) of 22.34s, just 0.02s off Blessing’s winning time.  Anthonique Strachan of the Bahamas was third in 22.54s, while Fraser-Pryce, who is still battling with her fitness levels, finished a disappointing fifth in 22.63s. 

Okagbare’s exploits have earned her the top spot in the 200m ranking with 10 Diamond Race points in her kitty. She won the event at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix in May with a Meeting Record (MR) of 22.36, and the long jump as well (with another MR of 6.86m). She also finished second in the 200 (behind sprinting revelation, Tori Bowie of the US) at the subsequent Diamond League meeting in Oregon with a Personal Best (PB) of 22.23s. Barring an upturn in Fraser-Pryce’s form this season, Okagbare is looking like the favourite to win the 200m GOLD at the Commonwealth Games!

In other events, the men’s 100m turned out to be a dramatic one following the disqualification of Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade, who spent several minutes on the track protesting his false start before eventually being ushered away.  USA’s Michael Rodgers eventually won the race in 10 seconds flat, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson and 38 year-old Kim Collins of St Kitts & Nevis placed second and third in 10.08 and 10.10 (SB) respectively. Great Britain’s Chijindu Ujah, who was  competing in the Diamond League for the first time ever, placed sixth with 10.20s, while former European champion Christophe Lemaitre, despite massive home support, was unable to give his fans much to cheer, as he was the last athlete to cross the finish line –  he did however post an SB of 10.28s.

French fans however did have a hat-trick of wins to be excited about –  Renaud Lavillenie’s domination in the men’s Pole Vault with 5.70m,  Eloyse Lesueur, who upstaged USA’s Triple World Champion Brittney Reese in the Long Jump, with a PB of 6.92m, and  Benjamin Compaore, who emerged the surprise winner of the Men’s Triple Jump in 17.12m, just 1cm ahead of Olympic champion, USA’s Christian Taylor! 

Reigning 400m Olympic champion, Sanya Richards-Ross crossed the line in 50.10s to secure her first Diamond League win this season, a huge improvement from her first race of the season in Eugene, where she placed a distant sixth with a time of 51.29s. African and Commonwealth Champion Amantle Montsho could only salvage a fourth place finish (50.70s) in what was her fourth Diamond League outing in 2014, after Shanghai, Eugene and Oslo. 

With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, Montsho will have her work cut out to stave off competition from Stephanie Ann McPherson and Novlene Williams-Mills to retain her 400m title – the Jamaican duo finished ahead of her in Paris in second and third, with times of 50.40s and 50.68s respectively!

The next leg of the IAAF Diamond League is slated to hold between July 11 and 12 in Glasgow, venue of the Commonwealth Games later this month!

 

2014 Diamond League Calendar

Doha, QAT – 9 May

Shanghai, CHN – 18 May

Eugene, USA – 31 May

Rome, ITA – 5 Jun

Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun

New York, USA – 14 Jun

Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul

Paris, FRA – 5 Jul

Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul

Monaco, MON – 18 Jul

Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug

Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug

Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug

Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep

 

 

Okagbare slips in Lausanne 100m, but returns for the Paris Diamond League 200m tomorrow!

4 Jul

Blessing Okagbare’s much awaited return to Diamond League action in Lausanne last night proved to be an anti-climax, as she stumbled out of her blocks and opted not to finish the race, as it was clear that she had lost it in the first few strides. Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye, who is quickly emerging as Blessing’s main rival for the 100m Commonwealth GOLD, took full advantage and raced to victory in 10.98 seconds, with Cote d’Ivoire’s Murielle Ahouré second in a photo finish with the same time! Following the the late withdrawals of Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown and USA’s Tori Bowie from the race, the path had seemed clear for an Okagbare victory, but her slip put paid to those hopes, though after her trip she would have been more concerned with staying injury-free rather than finishing the race – and rightly so!

The biggest story of the night was undoubtedly the men’s 100 metres, which saw the return of Tyson Gay from his well-publicised 1 year drug ban, a punishment that many in the Athletics world have felt was too lenient. Tyson Gay ran 9.93s on his return, placing second in an American 1-2-3, with Justin  Gatlin winning with a new world leading (WL) time this season of 9.80s and Mike Rodgers third in 9.98s – ALL THREE of them have served drug bans at some stage of their careers! Kirani James and LeShawn Merritt continued their intriguing 400m rivalry, with James coming out on top this time in 43.74s (a new WL, PB and National Record for Grenada!), with Merritt 2nd in an Season’s Best (SB) of 43.92s. Jamaica’s Yohan Blake finished  a disappointing 6th in the 200m in 20.48s, with Panama’s Alonso Edward winning in 19.84s (SB), while Qatar’s Nigerian-born Femi Ogunode was 5th in 20.25s.

Thankfully, Okagbare fans will not have to wait long to see her in action again, as she will appear in the 200 metres at the Paris Diamond League tomorrow (Saturday July 5th)! Once again, it is a loaded field and Blessing will to be on the very top of her game to best the likes of USA’s Multiple World and Olympic 200m Champion, Alyson Felix and Jamaica’s Current 200m World Champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, though the latter has struggled for form this season. Tori Bowie is also on the start-list in Paris, and she will certainly be a threat to Okagbare’s hopes of winning this – one might recall that in her very first Diamond League 200m race after switching events from the Long Jump, Bowie shocked Okagbare and the rest of the field from Lane 1 in Eugene!

In other events holding at the ‘Meeting Areva’ in the Stade de France tomorrow, Okagbare has again opted not to participate in the long jump event that will see the likes of reigning Olympic and World champion, Brittney Reese, Tianna Bartoletta and Funmi Jimoh (all of USA). Former 400m World champion, Amantle Montsho, is still trying to find her best form this season (SB 50.37s) and will race in the keenly contested women’s 400m, alongside USA’s Olympic Champion Sanya Richards-Ross, who has run sub-50 this season (SB 49.66s), as well as Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills, who has posted an impressive time of 50.05s this season.

There is an interesting inclusion in the men’s 100m as a British athlete with Nigerian roots, Chijindu Ujah, is set to make his Diamond League debut. The 100m Champion at the 2013 European Junior Championships recently broke the 10 second barrier with a time of 9.96sec in Hengelo, Holland last month, making him the third fastest Brit in history! He will go against the world’s fastest man this season, Richard Thompson (9.82s) from Trinidad and Tobago, and the likes of veteran former World Champion Kim Collins and the Jamaican trio of Nickel Ashmaede, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nesta Carter!

For Nigerian viewers, SuperSport 6 (DSTV Channel 206) will show the Meeting Areva (Paris Diamond League) LIVE from 7-9pm on Saturday July 5th. Blessing Okagbare goes in the women’s 200 metres at 7.42pm – Don’t miss it!

 

2014 IAAF Diamond League calendar

Doha, QAT – 9 May

Shanghai, CHN – 18 May

Eugene, USA – 31 May

Rome, ITA – 5 Jun

Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun

New York, USA – 14 Jun

Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul

Paris, FRA – 5 Jul

Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul

Monaco, MON – 18 Jul

Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug

Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug

Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug

Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep

 

 

Blessing sets new 200m PB of 22.23s, but finishes 2nd to Bowie’s shock victory!

1 Jun

Ever-improving Nigerian track star Blessing Okagbare ran a new Personal Best of 22.23 seconds in the women’s 200 metres, to take 2nd place at the Eugene leg of the Diamond League on Saturday. In a stacked race that included the likes of World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Olympic Champion Alyson Felix and World Championship Silver Medallist Murielle Ahoure, Okagbare was beaten only by USA’s Tori Bowie, more renowned as a Long Jumper, who claimed her first 200 metre victory of note from lane ONE in a new PB of 22.18s! Alyson Felix announced her return from injury with a fine 3rd place in 22.44s, with Ahoure in 4th with 22.66s, and Fraser-Pryce surprisingly finishing in last place with 23.08s! Okagbare finished strongly, pulling away from the rest of the field, but ran out of track to overhaul Bowie who had come off the bend in the lead!

Skip to the 4th video in this playlist to view the race: 

Blessing has been in fine form this season – she’s run the 100m in an 11.19 second win in Jamaica and an 11.18 second 2nd place in Doha behind Fraser-Pryce, while she claimed 200m and Long Jump victories on the same night in Shanghai a couple weeks ago (it would seem that she opted out of the Long Jump here in Eugene). But Tori Bowie will have sent a strong message to her fellow Long Jumper and the rest of the 200 metre field – she may have just announced her arrival as a top class sprinter and possible medallist in the coming years. With the USA not participating in the Commonwealth, Blessing is still looking good for GOLD in the 200 metres at the Games in July, but it will be interesting to see how Fraser-Pryce bounces back from her poor performance in this race!

Okagbare will be pleased to retain her 200 metre Diamond Race lead with an extra 2 points from her 2nd place finish, which takes her up to 6 points, while Tori Bowie moves to 4 points with her win. Next stop in the Diamond League’s women’s 200m will be in Oslo on June 11th, but don’t bet against seeing Okagbare line up for the 100 metres in Rome on June 6th – with her assault on the Diamond Races of 3 different events (100m, 200m, Long Jump), she is undoubtedly the Diamond League’s busiest athlete!

Can Blessing break Mary Onyali’s 18 year-old African 200 metre Record of 22.07 seconds, this season? Don’t bet against it – she already took the 100m African Record last year!

Be sure to follow @MakingOfChamps on Twitter & Instagram and like us on Facebook for all your Diamond League updates this season, including TV schedules, live twitter, instagram & facebook updates, with a special focus on athletes representing Nigeria!

2014 IAAF Diamond League calendar

Doha, QAT – 9 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
Eugene, USA – 31 May
Rome, ITA – 5 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun
New York, USA – 14 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul
Paris, FRA – 5 Jul
Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul
Monaco, MON – 18 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug
Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug
Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep

 

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