By Onochie Anibeze reporting from London
Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has called Nigeria’s star athlete here, Blessing Okagbare to support her and encourage her not to despair over Sunday’s disappointment in the final of London 2012 Olympics Games 100m event for women.
Okagbare is here in London as Nigeria’s brightest hope for an Olympic medal. She won bronze in the Long Jump in the Beijing Olympics and she will also compete in that event in London.
Okagbare enjoyed good previews in the international media following her outstanding performances in pre Olympics meets. She beat Jamaica’s Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce and Carmelita Jeta of USA in the Diamond league few days to the Olympics but when it mattered most she developed cramp and placed last with a time of 11.01 seconds. Pryce and Jeta won gold and silver respectively. This was after Blessing had posted 10.93 seconds in the first heat which she won and 10.92 seconds in the semi-final which she also won.
Book makers, therefore, expected a better performance from her in the final. That didn’t happen.
“After the semi-final I had pains on my legs. I had some kind of cramp and if the final was 24 hours from then I would have been okay but it was just two hours later. I have to get treatment and move on,” Blessing told this reporter in her first reaction to any Nigerian journalist here.
Moving on as she said is what Dr. Uduaghan wants her to accomplish now.
the governor told her to forget what happened and “go and do well in the Long Jump and the relays.”
Uduaghan contributed immensely to the training of Okagbare and wanted her to appreciate some of the problems athletes face. He said the following to her:
“You can train for years and get ready for an event but in a second the whole thing can crash. But what makes you a great athlete is your ability to move on after every disappointment. I want you to know that we will continue to support you and we want you to be strong and move on.”
Blessing thanked the governor for his tremendous support and concern and said that his call has lifted her spirit.