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By Dare Esan:
For the third consecutive race in Europe reigning Nigeria’s sprints record holder Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor failed to live up to expectations of her incredible African record-smashing early season performance as she could only place fifth (11.29 seconds) in the 100m race at the Bauhaus-Galan IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on Sunday.
Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith ran inside 11 seconds for the second time in under five days to claim victory in 10.93 seconds ahead of the woman who out-dipped her in Oslo last Thursday,Cote D’Ivoire’s Muriel Ahoure (11.03) with reigning Commonwealth Games champion Ahye Michelle-Lee of Trinidad and Tobago finishing third in 11.11 seconds.
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor first showed her dip in form penultimate weekend at the Fanny Blankers Koen Games in Hengelo, the Netherlands where she ran 23.03 seconds to place sixth in the 200m,a performance that got the TV commentator querying her early season 22.04 seconds world leading run in Abilene, Texas only two and half months ago.
The Nigerian was expected to prove in Oslo,Norway last Thursday that what happened in Hengelo was a one-off but she failed to convince doubters following her 11.12 second run to place fourth.
All eyes were thus on her Sunday in Stockholm at the fourth leg of the Diamond League series to make amends but it was not to be and the Nigerian will now be hoping she gets a lane in 18 days time in Paris when the trains makes its fifth stop.
For her effort in Stockholm,Okagbare-ighoteguono
r gets four points and $2,500 in prize money.Interestingly however, she has now moved to second in the IAAF Diamond League standings with 18 points,nine behind Ahoure who is on 27 points while Asher-Smith has moved on to third with 18 points.
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor will almost certainly make the final of the event in Zurich in 79 days time as the top eight finishers on points are awarded lanes in the final where running to become the “IAAF Diamond League 110m Champion” will be the only focus as well as the $50,000 top prize money,a Diamond Trophy and a wild card for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar next year.