By Ben Efe
Nigeria’s medal hopeful at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, Blessing Okagbare yesterday put herself in a good position to land the women long jump gold after she recorded the second best jump in the qualifying rounds.
Okagbare jumped 6.83m to book an automatic qualification for the final billed for this evening, she was second best to British Shara Procter who leapt 6.85m. Volha Sudarava (6.71m) from Belarus and Darya Klishina (6.70m) of Russia are the top women from the group B qualifier.
For defending champion, Brittney Reese of the USA, it was a struggle to make startlist of the final as she could only manage 6.57m to earn the last spot in the list of 12 finalists. Okagbare who will run in the heats of the women 100m along side Stephanie Kalu this morning only needs to hold her nerves leading to the final show down. It was good that she didn’t have to do much work on the pit yesterday.
Other Nigerians who will be on duty today include Regina George and Omolara Omotosho who will run in the semi-final of the women 400m. George clocked 51.01 seconds in the heats yesterday she was second to defending champion from Deagu 2011, Amantle Montsho of Botswana who did 50.75seconds.
In the men’s 800m, Nigeria’s Leoman Momoh wasn’t up to scratch as he placed seventh in his heat with 1.49.25 seconds his season best. Ogho-Oghene Egwero also failed to find his way out the heats of the men 100m. He ran 10.26 seconds, he was fifth.
In some of the finals decided yesterday, British Mo Farah lived up to expectation by claiming the men 10, 000m with a time of 27.21.71. Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan was second with 27.22.23. Kenya’s Paul Kipgetich was third with 27.24.39.
In the women marathon Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat became the first woman to retain the marathon world title when she eased home to earn the first gold medal of the Championships.
The 33-year-old – only 20th in the Olympics last year – timed 2. 25. 44sec to take gold ahead of long-time leader Valeria Straneo of Italy (2:25.58) while Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi took bronze (2:27.45).
“I’m delighted I was able to defend my title successfully. I got confident I was going to win at the 40km mark when I upped my pace,” Kiplagat said.