By Ben Efe
Nigeria’s sprint sensation, Blessing Okagbare yesterday at the first in the series of the IAAF Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar jumped a wind assisted 7.14m to threaten Chioma Ajunwa’s 7.12m that was achieved at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics Games.
Doha, where former Olusoji Fasuba set the African 100m record a 9.95 seconds in 2006, proved to be a rediscovery ground for Okagbare after the disappointment of the London 2012 Olympics.
She made the mark at the second attempt and followed up with another 7.03m to confirm that she now belongs to the club of 7.00m women jumpers.
This is the first time she is breaking the 7.00m barrier, even as she was aided by the wind. The wind measured +2.2 when Okagbare took her jump and that made it illegal. Her best jump had been 6.88m that won her the bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
However, at Doha Okagbare, who is the world leader in the 200m with 22.31 seconds, placed second behind London 2012 gold medalist, Brittney Resse of the USA who made 7.25m after two attempts. Janay Eloach also of the USA was third with 7.08m.
“It is really brilliant… it is good to see Okgbare back to top form again. This is a sign that she can win a medal at the world championships. This is a challenge to all the male jumpers,” said Yusuf Alli, former Africa long jump champion and long standing national record holder a 8.27m since 1987.