Blessing Okagbare was in the form of her life as she inked her name in Africa’s athletics history books at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London on Saturday.
The reigning Nigeria 100m champion ran 10.79 seconds to set a new Nigerian and African record.
Okagbare erased Glory Alozie’s 2000 African record of 10.90 seconds earlier in the heat, running an impressive 10.86 seconds.
Olympic champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica ran a world record 10.77 seconds in the second heat to set up a mouth-watering battle against Okagbare in the final.
Okagbare won the race in exhilarating fashion, finishing in 10.79 seconds to take her IAAF Diamond League points to ten, just two behind Fraser-Pryce who could only muster a fourth place.
American, Barbara Pierre finished in second place, running 10.85seconds while Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago ran 10.93seconds to place third.
Okagbare chose the venue of Nigeria’s worst ever Olympic outing – London – to make history. The London meeting was tagged Sainsbury anniversary meeting to commemorate last year’s Olympic event.
Her win in London ultimately propels her as the favourite to win the Blue-riband title at next month’s 14th IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia.
She’s on course to become the first Nigerian to win a World title and the second Nigerian woman after Gloria Alozie to win an individual medal at the IAAF flagship Championships.
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This article was first published on 28th July 2013