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U.S.-based ex-jumper, Olusola blasts Okagbare as Lawal sets new African record

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[FILES] Sprinter Blessing Okagbare<br />PHOTO: AFP

United States (U.S.)-based former Nigerian jumper, Benedict Olusola is not happy with sprinter, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who was disqualified after a false start in the women’s 100 metres semi-finals heat 1 on Monday at the on-going 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco.

Okagbare, a bronze medalist at Beijing 2008 Olympics Games, was disqualified for beating the gun at the starting block at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex.

Many Nigerians were looking forward to seeing Okagbare in the final, after she had won heat 3 of the 100m first round with a time of 11.53 seconds earlier on Monday.

In his reaction, Olusola, who ruled the jump in his active days, including Oluyole ‘79 National Sports Festival in Ibadan said: “Really? I haven’t seen that in a while. A world-class athlete beating the gun? I believe she wants to punish the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) because there was a scuffle before this trip.”

Some other Nigerians who reacted to the news of Okagbare’s disqualification felt the sprinter may have beaten the gun deliberately to express her displeasure with the Nigerian government over ‘poor’ treatment of athletes.

Okagbare stated yesterday that she was disappointed things didn’t go her way. “Sometimes the blessing is not always about what’s given but what He takes away. I know my fans are disappointed and if you know me, you know I don’t just show up. I show up and I am also there. Today didn’t go as planned but, lesson learned and gratitude given to God for my journey so far.”

Okagbare still has the chance to win medals for Nigeria in the 200 meters and 4×100 metres relay races.

Meanwhile, Team Nigeria won three more gold medals yesterday through Rafiatu Lawal, who ruled in the women’s weightlifting event.

Lawal won three gold medals in women’s 64kg weightlifting event, breaking the former African record of 92kg lift, to set a new one of 93kg. She then lifted 110kg in the Snatch and 113kg in Clean & Jerk.


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