Nigeria sprinter, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan have been confirmed for the season-ending IAAF Diamond League meetings in Zurich, Switzerland and Brussels in Belgium at the end of this month, Complete Sports can report.
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor will race in the 100m event while Amusan will participate in the 100m hurdles after the two Nigerians finished among the top eight competitors in their respective events.
Although the former Commonwealth double sprints queen did not win any of the 100m races in the six contested in the series,she still finished as the fourth best,garnering a total of 19 points behind the Ivorian duo of Muriel Ahoure (37 points), Marie-Jose Ta Lou (32 points) and Jamaica’s reigning double Olympics 100/200m champion,Elaine Thompson (25 points).
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor finished second at the season-opening meeting in Doha where she ran 10.90 seconds behind Ta Lou (10.85);she was seventh in Eugene,Oregon,USA,fourth in Oslo,Norway at the Mobil Bislett Games,fifth in Stockholm,Sweden and eighth in Monaco,France on July 19.
It was a close shave for Amusan who made her debut in the money-spinning event this year as she grabbed the final eighth position with her seventh placing run in London on July 21.
The reigning African 100m hurdles champion ran in only three out of the six qualification meetings to garner 12 points, two more than the chasing duo of USA’s Jasmin Stowers and Pedersen Isabelle of Denmark.
Amusan made her diamond league debut at the Golden Gala meeting in Rome,Italy at the end of May,finishing third (12.86 seconds) behind USA’s Sherika Nelvis and Jamaica’s Williams Danielle.
The Nigerian ran two more races in the series,finishing fifth in Rabat,Morocco and seventh in London.
Both Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and Amusan are now eligible to fight for the $50,000 top prize that will be on offer in the final race of their respective events.
They will also have the honour of being crowned the 2018 IAAF Diamond League Champion which goes with the award of a Diamond Trophy as well as a wild card for the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Okagbare-Ighotegunor who has had an indifferent season after her early-season eye-popping runs will file out on the track of the Letzigrund in Zürich on Thursday August 30 to battle seven other sprinters led by Ahoure,Ta Lou and Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith,the reigning European double sprints champion for the prizes and awards on offer.
Amusan will race the next day,Friday August 31 this time at the AG Insurance Memorial Van Damme in Brussels.She will be among the eight top sprint hurdlers who will be at the starting blocks at the King Baudouin Stadium waiting for the starter’s gun.
Can the duo emulate the duo of Falilat Ogunkoya (400m) and Glory Alozie (100m Hurdles) who raced to glory in 1998 at the IAAF Grand Prix final in Moscow,Russia?