By Dare Esan:
Nigeria’s reigning queen of the sprints Blessing Okagbare-Ighotegounor ran a legal 22.87 seconds to win the 200m event at a meet in Lubbock,Texas on Sunday, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The 2013 IAAF Worlds silver and bronze medallist ran unattached in the meet at Texas Tech University and coasted home first ahead of fellow unattached athletes McGrone (23.19) and White (23.52) to officially open her 2017 track and field season after her absence at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, the Bahamas penultimate weekend had raised huge doubts about her preparedness for the season.
Ahead of the 16th IAAF Worlds in London this August, local athletics watchers are hoping Okagbare-Ighotegounor will return to the form that fetched her two medals, a long jump silver and a 200m bronze, at the IAAF Worlds in Moscow, Russia in 2013 and a then 10.79 seconds African record in the 100m following her indifferent showings last year where she failed to make it to the final of the sprint events at the Rio Olympics.
Okagbare was also unable to legally break 11 seconds in the 100m last year with her 11.02 seconds personal season’s best achieved at the Nigerian trials in Sapele. Although she ducked inside 11 seconds (10.92 seconds) once at an obscure meet at the Sóstói Stadion in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, a massive trailing wing of 2.6mps rendered it illegal.
That was the first time since 2012 that she has failed to run inside 11 seconds while in the half lap she ran only once and that was the 22.58 seconds return on June 28 at a track meeting in Sollentuna, Sweden.
At the same meeting Rio Olympics 200m semi-finalist Divine Oduduru of Texas Tech University ran 10.09 seconds with an illegal trailing wind of 2.1 metres per second to win the 100m event ahead of Willis of Baylor University (10.22).
By Dare Esan: