By Dare Esan:
Blessing Okagbare’s indifferent season went from bad to worse on Thursday after the seven-time Nigeria 100m queen could only manage a pedestrian 6.11m leap at the long jump event of the 11th meeting of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League in Lausanne,S witzerland.
Okagbare, whose misadventure to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the 31st Olympic Games ended in near ignominy after failing to make the 100m and 200m finals and leading the Nigerian 4x100m relay team to finish last had only two legal jumps in Lausanne with her opening jump of 6.11m placing her last (sixth) in the final classification after the duo of Jones Akela of Barbados and Canada’s Nettey Christable failed to show up.
The Nigerian fouled her second attempt before jumping a mind boggling 5.95m to end her participation in the event on the night.
For her tame effort Okagbare earned $2,000 and one point to bring her total haul in the event to four from two meetings (Prefontaine in Eugene, USA and Athletissima in Lausanne, Switzerland).
Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic who won the event with 6.83m still tops the Diamond Race with 46 points after garnering all maximum (10) points in Lausanne followed by world leader (7.31m) in the event, USA’s Britney Reese who was absent in Lausanne and the Canada’s Nettey with 16 and 15 points respectively.
Reigning world and Olympic champion,Tianna Bartoletta of the USA finished fifth on Thursday to increase her points haul to 13 and is fourth in the ranking.
Meanwhile Okagbare will hope for a better outing on Saturday at the Meeting de Paris, the twelfth stage of the IAAF Diamond League at the Stade de France in Paris, France.
The reigning Commonwealth Games double sprint champion will be competing in the long jump event and will not only wish to avoid the embarassing display in Lausanne but also an equally disappointing performance she put up six years ago in her first visit to the French capital where her third round leap of 6.44m was her only legal leap of the evening after fouling the first two and she ended up in ninth place.
Instead the Sapele-born sprinter who is ranked second behind Ese Brume (6.83m) in the Nigerian 2016 long jump top list will hope to reproduce the form that propelled her to a 10.80 seconds second place finish in the 100m behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica last year at the same place or her impressive 22.32 seconds 200m run in 2014 that ensured she came first in the event ahead of USA’s Allyson Felix.