By Dare Esan:
Former African sprint queen,bBlessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor ran another disappointing race Tuesday at the 2018 IAAF World Challenge in Zagreb, Croatia, placing sixth in 11.47 seconds in the 100m race won by Cote D’Ivoire’s Marie-Jose Ta Lou (11.05 seconds).
Okagbare, who false-started in the final of the 100m race at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich last week ended her individual track race with her worst performance.
The Nigerian who raced to an impressive 10.90 seconds opening 100m race of the season early May in Doha,Qatar at the opening leg of the 14-leg IAAF Diamond League meetings, barely two months after scorching to a then 22.04 seconds world lead in the
200m seems to have extended an invitation to old Father Time following a series of disappointing performances both in the 100m and 200m races.
In the 100m the Nigerian failed to break 11 seconds in the five races she ran after the 10.90 seconds performance on May 4 in Doha.She ran 11.07 seconds in the following race in Eugene,USA on May 26 before slipping further to 11.12 seconds on June 7 in Oslo,Norway at the Mobil Bislett Games.
If that was unexpected from Nigeria’s high flying sprinter who ran 10.79 seconds to set a then African 100m record in London in 2013 and ran in three consecutive 100m finals in IAAF’s flagship event,the World Championships between 2011 and 2015, the unimaginable followed on June 10 in Stockholm,Sweden where she ran 11.29 seconds.
Over a month later,precisely on July 20 the Nigerian came to Monaco at the Herculis Zepter for redemption but left leaving more questions about how her season would end as she came in last in 11.32 seconds.
She sebsequently pulled out of the individual events at the 21st African Championships in Asaba early last month.She returned with a false start in Zurich at the Weltklasse before Tuesday’s 11.47 seconds performance.
In the 200m,she opened with the 22.04 seconds incredible performance at the Abilene Wes Kittley Invitational in
Abilene,Texas,USA on March 24.She ran inside 23 seconds again (22.43 seconds) just over a month later at the Lubbock Crofoot Shootout event in Lubbock,Texas before making it a hat-trick of 22 seconds run (22.66) on May 19 at the Kingston Jamaica
Then the bubble bursts.Okagbare-Ighoteguonor ran two more half lap races,first at the Fanny Blankers Koen Games in Hnegelo, The Netherlands on June 3 where she ran 23.03 seconds and got the television commentators querying her 22.04 run in March.She followed up with a 23.42 seconds performance at the Rabat Meeting International Mohammed VI D’Athletisme,the ninth leg of the IAAF Diamond League meetings.
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor can still end her season on a high this weekend when she runs in the 4x100m event for Africa at the IAAF Intercontinental Cup in Ostrava and ensure this season does not end like 2016 when she failed to make it to the final of the 100m event at the Olympics and failed to break 11 seconds even once.
2018 IAAF wWorld Challenge Zagreb.
1. TA LOU Marie-Josée CIV 11.05
2. AHYE Michelle-Lee TTO 11.28
3. NEITA Daryll GBR 11.33
4. STEWART Kerron JAM 11.43
5. EMMANUEL Crystal CAN 11.46
6. OKAGBARE-IGHO Blessing 11.47
7. BRYANT Dezerea USA 11.51
8. POKOS Lucija CRO 12.14