By Dare Esan:
Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor leapt to a 6.77m second place finish in the long jump at the Istvan Gyulai Memorial in the Hungarian city of Székesfehérvár on Tuesday to secure qualification for the event at the 16th IAAF World Championships next month in London, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The 2008 Olympics bronze medallist in the event had secured qualification in the 100m and 200m last month and was struggling to hit the 6.75m entry standard set by the IAAF for the long jump.
The Sapele-born sprinter cum jumper however banished fears she could be missing in the long jump event at the London Worlds when she leapt two centimetres above the qualification standard set by the IAAF at the meeting where she ran her only sub 11 seconds run (10.92 seconds) in the 100m last season albeit with a massive following wind to render it illegal.
Okagbare came to the Hungary with a 6.52m personal season's best achieved in Eugene,Oregon,USA last month and as the number two ranked long jumper in Africa so far this term behind compatriot Ese Brume whose 6.64m was,until the evening of Tuesday July 4,2017 was the best mark by an African in the event.
Okagbare who won a silver medal in the event at the 14th edition of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow,Russia in 2013 and is one of only two Nigerians to hit the 7m mark is now the African leader in additio to booking a spot in London for the event.
Local athletics buffs believe Okagbare's chances of making the final of an individual event in London and making a podium appearance thereafter are high in the long jump than in the sprints where she struggled for form last season and is yet to run inside 11 seconds and break 22.4 this season.
Meanwhile Okagbare-Ighoteguonor also won the 100m event at the meeting with an 11.11 seconds run,her second fastest time of the season.
She won ahead of Remona Burchell of Jamaica (11.15) and Nigerian-born American,Morolake Akinosun (11.19) who came second and third respectively