By Dare Esan:
Nigeria’s reigning queen of the track Blessing Okagbare will hope to salvage some pride when she files out for the long jump event this Thursday at the Lausanne Athletissima meeting, the first IAAF Diamond League meeting following the Rio Olympics.
The Nigerian’s name was among the seven on the provisional list of entries organisers of the 11th meeting of the 2016 IAAF Diamond League announced on Monday.
Okagbare who opted out of the long jump event at the Rio Olympics to concentrate on the sprint (100m, 200m) where she failed to race beyond the semi-finals will however need to jump farther than her 6.73m personal season’s best to stand any chance of picking the cash ($10,000) and the maximum points (10) on offer at the event.
The seven-time Nigeria 100m champion will have to battle reigning world and Olympic champion Tianna Bartoleta of the USA and five others for the opportunity to climb up the Diamond race ladder.
Okagbare, who is also on the provisional entry list for the event at the Paris leg of the IAAF Diamond League meeting on Sunday, is presently placed eighth in the standing with the three points she got when she placed fourth at the Prefontaine Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon, USA in May.
Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic who is also competing on Thursday in Laussanne leads the standing with 36 points.
Interestingly Okagbare won this event three years ago when she jumped 6.98m to beat then reigning world and Olympic champion, USA’s Britneey Reese (6.96m), who would go on to retain her world title at the IAAF Worlds in Moscow, Russia.
Meanwhile Tosin Oke has been listed for the triple jump event of the 12th meeting of the IAAF Diamond League series on Sunday in Paris.