VanguardNGR–Nigeria’s delegation to the 15th IAAF world championships in Beijing is expected to depart on Tuesday August 18 and Blessing Okagbare is hoping to outshine her strongest rivals in the Chinese capital city where she first won an Olympic medal in 2008.
At the last championships in Moscow, Russia, Okagbare was denied a place on the podium in the 100m by Shelly Ann Praser-Pryce, Murielle Ahoure and Carmelita Jeta. However, she was able to rescue a bronze in the 200m, partly because race favourite Allyson Felix had a pull.
But going to China this time, Okagbare stated that she is not bothered by the quality of the opposition as there could be an upset.
“Anybody can be beaten, including Shelly-Ann or even me. We have all worked hard. Each time you participate in a competition, the essential thing is to run to full potential,” said Okagbare who also won silver in the long jump with 6.99m.
Ahead of the championships in Beijing, Okagbare has the third fastest time of the season. A 10.80 seconds, she achieved in July. Fraser-Pryce has fastest time of 10.74 seconds with English Gardner of the USA in second place with 10.79 seconds. Other athletes who are potential medalists include Ahoure of Cote’d Ivoire who has 10.81 seconds and Tori Bowie also with 10.81.
Nigerian athletes who are in the team include Gloria Asumnu, Stephanie Kalu, Deborah Odeyemi, Cecilia Francis, Patience Okon-George, Regina George, Oluwatosin Adeleye and Magaret Etim. Others are Rita Ossai, Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa, Miles Ukaoma, Doreen Amata, Lindley Weyinmi Lindsay, Tosin Oke, ega Odele and Amaka Ogoegbunam.