Okagbare Faces Tough Hurdle In 200m Semi-Finals

Okagbare Faces Tough Hurdle In 200m Semi-Finals

—Oke, Olamigoke, Ukaoma Out Of Rio 2016 Olympics


By Oladimeji Loko in Rio:

Reigning double Commonwealth Games sprint queen Blessing Okagbare will need to run faster than her 22.23 seconds personal best to stand a chance of making the 200m final when the semi-final is run at 2am Nigerian time on Wednesday.

The seven-time Nigerian 100m queen came in first (22.71s) in her first round heat on Monday but faces another heartbreak in the semi-final after she was 

drawn in the same heat as reigning world champion Dafne Schippers of Holland and Jamaica's Elaine Thompson who came second behind Schippers in Beijing at the IAAF Worlds last year and only early Sundaymorning ran 10.71 seconds to win the 100m gold at the on-going Olympic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Also drawn in Okagbare's first semi-final heat are USA's Deajah Stevens who  holds a personal season's best of 22.25 seconds and Britain's Dina Asher-Smith who incidentally came second (22.77s) behind Okagbare in the first round heat.

The Nigerian will be fighting for either the two automatic slots on offer for the final which Schippers and Thompson, who both ducked inside 22 seconds to make the podium in Beijing last year, are favoured to get or the two fastest losers' spots which is open to athletes in all the three semi-final heats.

In the other semi-final heats, Cote D'Ivoire duo of Muriel Ahoure and Marie-Jose Talou will also strive to make the final.

Ahoure will be running in the third semi-final while Talou, who came fourth in the 100m final early Sundaymorning and set a 22.31 seconds personal best in  the first round heat Monday afternoon, will be running in the second semi-final.

Okagbare, it would be recalled, failed to qualify for the 100m semi-finals on Saturday and has not run inside 11 seconds so far this year.

Meanwhile, Nigeria continued their bad run in track and field as the duo of Olu Olamigoke and Tosin Oke failed to qualify for the finals of the triple jump event.

Olamigoke expectedly failed to make his Olympics debut a memorable one after he could not hop, step and jump beyond 16.10m, 85cm short of the 16.95m qualifying standard set for the event.

Oke on his part did not fulfil expectations after he too could only jump 16.47m to place 16th in his qualifying group. 

Also out of the Olympics is quartermile barrier runner Miles Ukaoma who failed to hurdle past the first round.

The USA-based Nigerian came in fifth (49.84s) in the very first heat of the 400m hurdles to wave bye to the Rio Games.

In the early hours of Tuesday another 400m hurdler, Ogoegbunam Amaka, will attempt to see if she could qualify for the semi-final in her first appearance at the Games and possibly go a step further by equalling national record holder Ajoke Muizat Odumosu's final placing four years ago in London.

Also bidding to make her debut an unforgetable one is discus thrower Chinwe Okoro who will be aiming to improve the 61.58m national record she set early this year to 62m,the qualfying standard set by he IAAF for the event.

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