By Dare Esan:
Former African queen of the track Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor ran a personal season’s best time of 11.16 seconds on Sunday evening to place second behind Dutch lady Dafne Schippers at the Fanny Blankers-Koen meeting in Hengelo, Holland.
The race, run into a -1.3 metres per second head wind, saw the Nigerian stroll home second ahead of South Africa’s Horn Carina (11.35) and 60m world junior record holder at 7.07 seconds Polish girl Ewa Swoboda, who came home fourth in 11.48 seconds.
Local athletics buffs are hoping Okagbare would banish the ghost of her indifferent performances last season when she failed to legally break 11 seconds in the blue ribband event.
In the high jump event, Doreen Amata failed to soar beyond a rather pedestrian 1.80m to place ninth.
Meanwhile, Okagbare has been listed for the long jump event at the IAAF Diamond League meeting on Thursday at the Bislett stadium in Oslo, Norway.
This will be the Nigerian’s first ever trip to the Oslo event and she will hope to jump farther than the 6.52m she jumped early this month at the Pre-fountaine classic in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
Okagbare will be up against three of the athletes who finished ahead of her in Eugene as USA’s reigning world champion Bartoletta Tianna and the British duo of Logen Lorraine and Shara Proctor have also been confirmed for the meeting.
In Eugene, Bartoletta was second (6.83m) behind compatriot Britney Reese (7.01m) while Lorraine was third (6.78m) and Proctor fifth with her 6.63m leap.