By Ben Efe
Africa’s women 100m top stars, Blessing Okagbare and Murielle Ahoure are not in the competition at the All Africa Games athletics events, which started yesterday at the Kintele Stadium.
The field was thoroughly weakened by their absence and has been left open for up and coming Ivorian youngster Marie Jose Talou. She expressed regrets that the race in Brazzaville Congo has its glamour stripped off by the absence of the duo, who did not make a good showing at the IAAF World Championships last month in Beijing. Talou and Ahoure reached the semi-final of the World Champions, while Okagbare was in the final but did not click. She also did not run the 200m.
“I am not happy that Okagbare and Ahoure are not here. I really wanted to race against them. Ahoure is not coming because she is injured,” said Talou who ran 11.16 seconds in the heats going into the semi-finals that were concluded last night.
Okagbare arrived Brazzaville on Saturday. She may be running only the relays, as one of the coaches in camp claimed she was not in top shape to go through the rigors of qualifying for the final.
“Yes, she is around, but I don’t think she will be running in the rounds. Her condition doesn’t warrant her going through the series of races. She may be good only for a one off race,” said the coach.
With her absence, Nigeria may have surrendered the gold in the women 100m. It was only Cecilia France that ran the heats and it remained to be seen how she will fare in the final.
Ogho Oghene Egwero, Seye Ogunlewe, Nicholas Ikhoaperamhe are the Nigerian male contenders for the title. They have a worthy competition in Cote’d Ivoire’s Ben Youssef Metie. Egwero ran the fastest time 10.06 in the semi finals. It was his season’s best ahead of the final today. The finals are set for today.