By Dare Esan:
Reigning Nigeria 100m (10.79 seconds) and 200m (22.04 seconds) record holder Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor will be missing in action for the third year in a row when the IAAF Diamond League train makes its second of 14 stops in Shanghai,China on Saturday.
The Nigerian’s name was conspicuosly missing in the provisional entry list for the women’s 200m released Monday by the IAAF.
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor was in inspiring form last Friday in Doha, Qatar in the opening leg of the IAAF money-spinning one day event, running a 10.90 seconds personal season’s best to come second in the 100m event behind Cote D’Ivoire’s Mary Jose Ta Lou (10.85 seconds).
It was her 16th sub 11 seconds run since she first became the fourth Nigerian woman after Mary Onyali, Glory Alozie and Damola Osayomi (IAAF have struck Chioma Ajunwa’s 10.84 seconds run in 1992 off its all-time top list) to break 11 seconds in the blue ribband event when she ran 10.99 seconds on July 14, 2012 in London.
Nigerians waiting for another blistering run from the 2013 IAAF World Championships long jump silver medallist will have to look beyond this Saturday as the Nigerian queen of the track will not be at a venue where she has never gone beyond the third position since she first ran there in 2011 (3rd in the 100m in 11.23 seconds).
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor’s golden moments in Shanghai came in 2014 when she ran 22.36 seconds to win the 200m event ahead of Strachan Anthonique of the Bahamas (22.50 seconds) and Duncan Kimberly of the USA (22.96 seconds) and leapt a distance of 6.86m to win the long jump event.
The following year the Nigerian was in blistering form again this time over the 100m, running 10.98 seconds to win ahead of
USA’s Tori Bowie (11.07 seconds) and reigning Commonwealth Games fastest woman, Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago (11.13 seconds).