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Blessing Okagbare wins in London, sets new African record

By Onochie Anibeze with agency report

•Uduaghan congratulates her, Ogba, Pinnick celebrate
Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare Saturday wiped out her London 2012 Olympic tears when she returned to the same venue at Olympics Stadium in Strafford and sensationally beat the world to win the 100m, setting a new African record in the process.

It was at the venue where she raised hopes of Nigerians but crashed them at the Olympics, getting to the final but placing last.

Before more than 80,000 spectators, the new Africa’s Queen of the tracks first broke Gloria Alozie’s 14 -year old record of 10.90 record when she returned in 10.86 seconds in the heats. She further lowered that in the final to produce what is now the talk in town, a sensational feat of 10.79  seconds.

“I see a world champion in her and I pray she makes it in Moscow during the World Championships. Setting a record is always a great thing. I congratulate her,”quickly reacted Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who has been supporting Nigeria’s elite athletes especially Okagbare.

Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria (2-r) stretches to cross the line in the womens 100 metres event during the London Anniversary Games International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League International Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London yesterday.
Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria (2-r) stretches to cross the line in the women’s 100 metres event during the London Anniversary Games International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League International Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London Saturday, July 27, 2013.

It was a strange afternoon in what was the deepest sprint field of the second day of the London Anniversary Games.

Reigning world champion Carmelita Jeter withdrew from the final with a quad injury, according to Flotrack, after running a season’s best 10.93 in her heat.

Jeter missed the U.S. championships in June due to a quad injury. With worlds just two weeks away, this is a situation to monitor.

Two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce put up a very smooth world-leading 10.77 in her heat. But Fraser-Pryce was never a factor in the final, running a 10.94 for fourth place. The winner was Blessing Okagbare in 10.79 seconds.

Okagbare is also ranked fourth in the world this year in both the 200 and the long jump.

The fastest American on Saturday was a woman who didn’t make the world championships team – Barbara Pierre. Pierre matched her personal-best 10.85 in the final, the same time English Gardner clocked to win nationals in June.

‘’Blessing is Nigeria’s greatest sensation now and needs the support of the whole country,”celebrated Solomon Ogba, the President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria who was at the stadium yesterday.

“I congratulate Blessing and I thank Governor Uduaghan for all his tremendous support,”Amaju Pinnick, Delta’s Sports boss said last night.

“Blessing is the pride of Africa at the moment and Nigeria is lucky to have such an athlete,” Godwin Abigor, chairman of Warri Wolves and an ardent sports enthusiast said.

“She is absolutely sensational. She is unbelievable. Breaking African record two times in one event is sensational,” Dare Esan, Editor of Complete Sports said.

Usain Bolt wrapped up the London Anniversary Games with a no-doubt-about-it anchor leg on the 4×100-meter relay at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Bolt and his Racers Track Club won the event in 37.75 seconds, easily beating France (38.45). The 4×100 world record set by Bolt and Jamaica at the 2012 Olympics is 36.84. This was Bolt’s first appearance at the Olympic Stadium since his triple gold performance at the 2012 Games.


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