By Dare Esan In Beijing:
Reigning African 100m queen, Blessing Okagbare, has apologised to Nigerians, especially millions of her fans all over the world, for letting them down in the final of the 100m at the IAAF World Championships here in Beijing.
Okagbare, one of the pre-race favourites and the third fastest woman in the world coming to the championships, surprisingly came in last (8th) in 11.02 seconds, her worst performance in her third straight 100m final.
The double Commonwealth sprint champion says what happened on the Mondo track at the Bird’s Nest stadium was just meant to be.
“You work hard, train hard, put your best foot forward and go out there to proudly represent your country.
‘Sometimes it all comes together for you, and on other days like today (Monday August 24, 2015), it doesnt,” wrote the African record holder in the event at 10.79 seconds on her facebook wall.
She admitted she had a difficult race, especially with her slow movement out of the blocks and general stiffness of her back to power through like she had done in he past.
She however thanks all Nigerians and her fans for the unconditional love they have shown and showered on her.
“I feel sad that I let you down,” she further wrote and promised to regroup and get ready for the 200m which fetched her a bronze medal two years ago in Moscow, Russia at the 14th edition of the championships.
“I will regroup and get ready for g6he 200m which starts on Wednesday. I thank you all for standing by ne,” wrote the multitalented athlete who won a long jump bronze at this same Bird’s Nest stadium seven years ago at the 2008 Olympics.
Many former Nigeria internationals feel her start disappointed her with sprint hurdler, Taiwo Aladefa, warning that she needed an explosive start in the final.
“Blessing ran a good race.10.89 seconds in the semis..but will need a more explosive start in the final,” Aladefa, an Olympic semi-finalist, has written on her Facebook wall.
Adewale Olukoju, an ex-discus and shot put thrower, agreed with Aladefa.
“Blessing was left out tight from the start.That is a no no at this level,” he also wrote on Aladefa’s wall.
Defending champion Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and fast rising Dutch girl, Dafne Schippers, seemed to have listened to Aladefa’s advice as they had the best possible start that can be imagined with the pocket-sized Jamaican, the overwhelming favourite before the race, retaining her title to make it three IAAF world championship 100m gold medals.
She ran 10.76 seconds to accomplish the task, two hundredths of a second slower than her personal season’s best and world lead.
Schippers who beat Okagbare twice in London at the tail end of July in an IAAF Diamond League meeting proved it was not by happenstance. She had given indication of what to expect in the semifinals when she rewrote the Dutch national record with a new 10.83 seconds run. She improved it by two hundredths of a second to win the silver medal.
USA’s Torie Bowie, a 200m specialist ran 10.86 seconds to pick the bronze while former world junior queen, Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown, was fourth in 10.91 seconds.The fifth position went to Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago with 10.98 while Kelly-Ann Batiste (11.01) and Nathasa Morisson of Jamaica (11.02) came in sixth and seventh.