Okagbare runs world lead 10.63 seconds at national trials in Lagos
• Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire arrive Lagos for Invitational Relays
Team Nigeria’s preparation for the Tokyo Olympics Games recorded a positive result yesterday, as U.S.-based sprinter, Blessing Okagbare, ran 10.63 seconds, the fastest time by any woman in the world this year. It was aided by wind 2.7.
Unofficially, Okagbare’s time was recorded as 10.62 seconds.
She won the 100m event of the National Trials at the Yaba College of Technology ahead of Rosemary Chukwuma of Team Delta, who posted a time of 11.07 seconds. Another Delta athlete, Grace Nwokocha, ran 11.11 seconds to place third.
Earlier this year, Okagbare ran 10.90 seconds to finish second behind her Jamaican rival, Shelly-Ann Praser-Pryce, who ran 10.60 seconds. Some weeks later, the Jamaican ran 10.63 seconds at Kingston National stadium.
On sighting the record time of 10.62 seconds at the end of the race yesterday, Okagbare fell flat on the track, rolled several times in celebration.
In the male100m event also decided yesterday, Enoch Adegoke from Edo State won in 10.00 seconds, while Usheorite Itsekiri (Delta) was second in 10.07 seconds, just as Okeoghene Brume (younger brother to Ese Brume) was third in 10.09 seconds.
Seye Ogunlewe finished fourth in 10.11 second.
MEANWHILE, two out of the seven countries confirmed for the invitational relays scheduled as part of Nigeria’s Olympics trials have arrived in Lagos for the event.
The two countries, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire came in Wednesday while the other five countries, including Zambia, Botswana, Cameroun, Benin Republic and Ghana are expected to jet in today.
The competition, holding at the Sports Ground of the Yaba College of Technology, is one of the windows Nigeria and other African countries have to ensure their relay teams qualify for the relay events of the Tokyo Olympics following the cancellation of the African Senior Championships earlier billed to hold at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos.
Nigeria has provisionally qualified for the women’s 4x100m event and will be hoping to seal their spot on home soil with the iconic sprinter, Blessing Okagbare leading the charge.
The men’s 4x100m and the women’s 4x400m relay teams are just one quality performance away from sealing their places in Team Nigeria’s flight to the quadrennial Games.
The men’s 4x100m team has slipped one step further down to 18th in the ranking of teams for the games following Turkey and Ukraine’s impressive performance at an athletics meeting on June 12 in Erzurum, Turkey.
While Turkey jumped from 16th to 15th after their quartet improved from 38.47 seconds to 38.20 seconds, Ukraine jumped above Nigeria to 17th after running 38.51 seconds at the same event.
Nigeria is ranked 18th courtesy of the 38.59 seconds the team ran two years ago at the African Games in Rabat and will need to run under 38.15 seconds to be sure of picking one of the available four slots on offer.
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