By Dare Esan, Beijing:
Blessing Okagbare has been handed an easy draw in the first round of the women’s 100m event which begins on Sunday at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium
The Nigerian will run from lane 5 in the second of five heats which will produce three automatic qualifiers each and three best losers.
Okagbare is expected to stroll into the semi-final as her only recognised threat, Jamaica’s Natasha Morisson, could not ruffle her feathers.
Defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pyrce will run from lane 9 in heat 4 while Ivorian girl Muriel Ahoure who won the silver medal in Moscow two years ago will run in heat 3 together with Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago.
Fast-rising Dutch girl, Dafne Schippers, who came from behind to beat Okagbare at the Herculis Zepter IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco last month, has been drawn in lane 9 in heat five while USA’s star, Torie Bowie, will run in the opening heat with Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown.
In the 400m hurdles, Amaka Ogoegbunam is expected to hurdle into the semi-final after she was drawn in heat five of the women’s 400m hurdles.
Although she will go head-to-head against three heavyweight athletes like Czech Republic’s Denisa Rosolova Janieve Russell of Jamaica and USA’s Shammier Little who has broken 54 seconds this year, she should be among the four automatic qualifiers from her heat.
Meanwhile multi-eventer, Naomi Osazuwa Uhumunom,a is sitting 16th in the heptathlon ranking after the first two events Saturday morning. She ran 13.75 seconds in the first event of the day, the 100m hurdles, to get 1014 points. She increased her points haul to 2030 points after clearing 1.83m in the high jump to get 1016 points.
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