Beijing 2008 bronze medalist Blessing Okagbere Thursday earned accolades from former Abia state governor Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu who tipped her for a long jump gold in this year’s London Olympic Games.
Kalu held that even with Okagbare’s splendid form,London meant a lot to both Nigeria and the female Long jump event.
He said,”London will favour Okagbare and Team Nigeria.It was there in 1948 that a Nigerian first reached the Olympic final.Adegboyega Folaranmi Adedoyin,an Ijebu-Remo Blue blood, finished fifth in the men’s long jump event.As a Medical student of Queen’s University Belfast,the Prince competed for Great Britain since Nigeria was a colony.The women’s long jump also debuted at London’48.”
That was the last time London hosted the Olympics, and following Prince Adedoyin’s outing,Team Nigeria always pulled weight in the long jump leading to Chioma Ajunwa’s Golden leap in 1996.
“Long jump is a ‘friendly’ event.This is Okagbare’s tonic.It is Nigeria’s Unique Selling Point[USP].At Melbourne’52,Karim Olowu also got to the final,finishing fifth.Wariboko West improved on that at Tokyo’64 missing the bronze by a whisker.Then came Immaculata Chioma Ajunwa with our best at Atlanta and Okagbare’s bronze four years ago,”the ex-governor explained.
Kalu charged Gloria Asumnu to look up to her name as the country fights for more Olympic gold medals 16 years after Ajunwa and the Dream Team made Nigeria proud.
“There is something about that name.I see glory coming her way.Nobody gave Ajunwa a chance in Atlanta,yet she conquered Fiona May and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.I see Asumnu and Okagbare giving us something to cheer in London”,Kalu added.