Former Olympics women long jump champion and continental record holder, Chioma Ajunwa has predicted that Blessing Okagbare will erase the long jump and 100m African records if she puts her mind into it at the World Championships in August.
Ajunwa holds the African long jump record; a 7.12m she did at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. She, at one time held the 100m record with a wind aided 10.84 seconds set in 1992. It was bettered by Gloria Alozie with a 10.90 seconds run in 1999. The two records have continued to gape at Nigerian women jumpers and sprinters until recently when Okagbare gave warning signs that she could take both records out.
The Delta-born athlete in two Diamond league meetings, put up encouraging performances. She jumped 7.14m in Doha and ran 10.89seconds in Eugene, Oregon, however both efforts were above the permitted wind levels.
“From all indications Okagbare can take both records at the World Championships, if she puts her mind into it.
“Depending on her frame of mind and what she wants to achieve, I have a feeling she will put her name in the records book. I did it during my time and even now Okagbare has height advantage, she is taller and has greater speed.
“It all boils down to techniques. And if she comes up with a good plan she can make it in the long jump, it takes only one crazy jump to do the magic,” said Ajunwa.
She advised the Nigerian hope to keep her head down and not get distracted by the usual rancour in the Nigerian set up.