By Onochie Anibeze
Five days ago, Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan honoured Blessing Okagbare with one SUV, Hyundai Santafe, for her training sessions when at home in Nigeria.
He did so when he found out that the Nigerian star was always hiring a car when at home or relied on Amaju Pinnick, the Delta State sports boss, to make one available.
Uduaghan wanted Okagbare never to regret her choice of Sapele as training ground most times she is in Nigeria. Okagbare thanked the Governor and reassured him that she would always strive to make him proud of Delta’s investment in her career.
And when she ran a blistering race yesterday in the Birmingham Diamond League, she called to dedicate her victory to Dr. Uduaghan.. Blessing got to the line before Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Camelita Jeter to win the 200m in 22.55 seconds.
Fraser-Pryce, the 100m Olympic champion was second in 22.72 and Jeta of USA, another Olympic champion placed third in 23.36 seconds.
‘’The last time I spoke with you I told you that I long for the day I’ll put a smile on the face of the Governor. I thank God for this. I dedicate this to him.
I pray something great happens at the World Championships. I hope more will happen and that the big one will come and Uduaghan will smile.”
That big one could be at the World Championships in Moscow this August or the Rio Olympics.
“I’m not a good starter, so I have more advantage in the 200m. With the upcoming World Championship, the goal is to stay healthy,” she told the press.
Solomon Ogba, the AFN President was at the venue where Regina George placed 6th in the 400m won on the line by Christine Ohuruogu the British of Nigeria descent.
Amante Montsho of Botswana led until five meters to the line when Ohurougo powered home and the athletes had to wait for the photo finish machine to declare the winner. Ohuruogu ran 50.63 secs while Montsho ran 50.64 seconds. Our Regina George returned 52.15 seconds to place sixth ahead of two Americans.
“It’s a good outing for the Nigerians here,” Ogba merely told this reporter before Blessing Okagbare spoke.
Amaju said that Delta would continue to encourage Blessing and other athletes who will be preparing for the World Championships and “other events like the open sports festival.”