By Dare Esan:
Nigeria’s 100/200m record holder, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, will be in action on Friday as the IAAF Diamond League train makes its scheduled 10th stop at the 31st Herculis EBS Meeting in Monaco, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Nigerian will be seeking a double redemption of sort when she lines up alongside reigning double Olympics sprints champion, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, Cote D’Ivoire’s duo of Muriel Ahoure and Marie-Jose Ta Lou, South Africa’s rising sprint sensation, Carina Horn, Flying Dutchwoman, Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands and USA’s Prandini Jenna for the eight Diamond League points and $10,000 prize money on offer.
First she will seek to banish the disappointment of her last visit to the municipality where she was disqualified in the 200m event in 2015.
She will also hope to re-start her season after a run of mediocre performances of late and in time for the African Championships, Asaba 2018 which starts in her home state of Delta in less than a forthnight.
The Stade Louis II in Monaco has proved to be a veritable hunting ground for the beautiful Nigerian sprinter who should take inspiration from her career-lifting performances in 2012 when she came first in the 100m, running a then personal best of 10.96 seconds and her historic 7m jump the following year to win the long jump event.
Prior to her trip in 2013 to Monaco, only one Nigerian nay African woman had hit the 7m mark in the horizontal jump-Chioma Ajunwa who jumped 7.12m to win the Olympic gold in 1996.
But Okagbare made history as the second woman to hit the mark.She had leapt high and landed with an impressive 7.04m in the second of her scheduled six rounds but a trailing wind of +2.1m per seconds rendered the mark inadmissible as a personal best.
Undaunted, the Nigerian, determined to make history hit the 7m mark (7.00m) again in the third round. It was a case of being second time lucky as the wind stood still at 0.0 mps.
On Friday,Okagbare-Ighoteguonor will be hoping for a return to form to not only prepare herself for the African Championship but to also secure her place in the final of the event come August 30 at the Weltklasse in Zurich.
The African 200m record holder is placed joint fourth in the IAAF Diamond League 100m ranking with 18 points and she needs to get a good result on Thursday in Monaco to maintain a top seven spot.
The winner of the 100m in Zurich will become “IAAF Diamond League Champion” and be awarded a Diamond Trophy, $50,000 prize money and a wild card for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar in 2019.