Okagbare heads to Jamaica for global challenge, says AFN lied
Reigning African the track queen and Commonwealth champion, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, is set for another challenge in Jamaica, a few days after propelling Nigeria’s 4x200m women team to gold at the IAAF World Relays in Bahamas.
Okagbare ran a fantastic first leg to give the quartet a world leading time of 1:30.52s to pick the gold medal in the Caribbean Island country, Bahamas, last weekend. This time, she will be Nigeria’s lone contender in the Jamaica International Invitational, an IAAF World Challenge meet, which holds on Saturday.
The Sapele-born sprinter confirmed her readiness for the Jamaica Challenge in a chat with The Guardian yesterday saying: “I am still in Bahamas. Other Nigerians who participated in the IAAF World Relays have left for their respective homes, but I will be going to Kingston, Jamaica, for the World Challenge.”
The World Challenge in Kingston will pitch Okagbare against double world champion, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, as well as Olympic champion, Allyson Felix.
Okagbare said yesterday she would compete only in the 100m event. Apart from home girl, Fraser-Pryce, other Jamaica’s top athletes will also be in action.
The men’s 100m event will see top stars, including world bronze medallist, Nesta Carter up against world silver medallist Justin Gatlin and former world record-holder Asafa Powell.
Meanwhile, Okagbare has faulted the explanation by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), on why it opted for some athletes from USA and neighbouring countries for the just concluded IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas.
AFN Technical Director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, had explained that visa issues and ill health of some of home-based athletes robbed Team Nigeria of its full strength in the Bahamas.
But Okagbare, who had earlier accused the AFN of killing the nation’s athletics by using all manner of athletes instead of building on its great talents, said yesterday that AFN was economical with the truth. “Which sickness are they talking about? We have to tell ourselves some bitter truth sometimes.”