By Onochie Anibeze, Moscow
Experts here are tipping Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare for a possible gold medal in the 200m, going by her slow start and powerful finish.
Okagbare’s height that naturally puts her in good stead for long strides is a huge advantage.
“I thank God for using me to end the drought for Nigeria. It’s a blessing from God. I’ll savour the medal but I have got more races to do so it’s better to keep a cool head now,” Blessing said here at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow.
Nigeria last won a medal in the World Championships in Seville, Spain in 1999. Gloria Alozie and Francis Obikwelu won silver and bronze in Hurdles and 200m respectively.
Nigeria only got into the books again here in Moscow after a 6.99m effort placed Blessing behind Unioted State’s Brittney Resse who jumped 7.01 to win the gold. Ivana Spanovic of Serbia won silver with a jump of 6.82m.
“I’m taking it one at a time and feeling good about it. It’s tough but I’ll do my best not to lose focus,” Blessing said of her remaining races. After the 100m last night she would be back for the 200m on Thursday and will also run the 4x100m relays.
Nigerians here are celebrating the Delta athlete for the silver and expecting more from her.
“What a great thing it will be for me to cover a gold medal winning athlete from Nigeria,” Daren Esan, a track and field expert and journalist said.
“Anything can happen tonight in the 100m but I think she can win gold in the 200m. She has the good finish to do so. The 100m would depend on how she starts. Others expressed similar expectations including Cameroun’s Rene Thobhi.