Barely a fortnight after winning the XX Commonwealth Games sprint double in Glasgow, Scotland and even set a new 100m record of 10.83secs in the process, Blessing Okagbare, monday continued her blissful summer in Marrakech, Morocco, reclaiming the short print title of the African Senior Athletics Championships.
Okagbare snatched the gold in 11.00 secs to erase the championships record of 11.03 she clocked in Nairobi, Kenya four years ago. Ivorian speed-star, Murrielle Ahoure, who won a silver medal in the women’s 200m event of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia last year, played second fiddle to the Delta girl, picking the silver in 11.03.
Another Ivorian, Marie J. Ta Lou Gonezie ran 11.20 behind Ahoure and Okagbare to pick the bronze medal. Two other Nigerian sprinters in the 100m final, Gloria Asumnu (11.49) and Lauretta Ozoh (11.74) placed 4th and 7th in the final of the event.
In the men version of the short sprint, Nigeria’s duo of Mark Jelks (10.07) and Edward Monzavous (10.16) finished second and third behind Ivorian Wil fred Koffi Hua who set a new championship record of 10.05 secs to win the gold medal of the African Championships.
Nigeria’s third finalist, Ogho-Oghene Egwero (10.28) finished outside the podium in the 5th position. Speaking shortly after winning the gold to erase the nightmare of losing it to petit Gabonese sprinter, Ruddy Zhang Milama, at the last edition in Port Novo, Benin Republic, Okagbare said she was very happy doing Nigeria proud again.
“I am very happy to have won the title because I just wanted to win for my fans and do my country proud. Just coming straight from the Commonwealth Games, my body is tired, but my coach told me to just be focused and execute the race, which was what I did.[eap_ad_2] “Of course the competition was stiffer at the Commonwealth Games, but that is not to take anything away from Murielle Ahoure. She is a great athlete,” gushed Okagbare while trying to catch her breath.
The University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP) graduate admitted she was equally glad, having three of her compatriots in the final of the 100m.
“It was good that we had three Nigerians in the final but this is Africa. I am hoping that we can have this kind of representation on a bigger platform, like the World Championships and the Olympics,” concludes the Delta girl who is in the best form of her track and field career this summer.
Quarter miler, Isah Salihu, crashed out of the heats of the 400m as he finished fourth with 47.12secs, while Robert Simmons was disqualified for beating the gun, leaving Noah Akwu as the last Nigerian athlete standing in the event. Akwu placed second in his heat with 46.88secs to qualify for the semis.
National hammer throw champion, Queen Obisesan narrowly missed a place on the podium with her distance of 59.99m, which placed her in fourth position, while Stephen Mozia and Augustine Nwoye finished fourth and seventh respectively in the men’s shot put event. Samson Idiata and Hammed Suleman also made it to the final of the men’s long jump.[eap_ad_3]