By Johnny Edward:
Nigeria’s Commonwealth 100 and 200 metres champion, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, says that the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Diamond League meeting which begins today (Sunday) in Rabat Morocco, can have worldwide benefits, Completesportsnigeria.com reports
Close to 200 track and field athletes, including 20 Olympic medallists and 39 world outdoor champions, will be part of history Sunday when Rabat becomes the first African city to stage a Diamond League meet.
And Okagbare who is expected to win the 100m race in the absence of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who will miss her second straight Diamond League as she recovers from a toe injury says she is delighted to be participating in the event.
Speaking at the pre-event conference held at the International Mohammed VI d’Athletisme, the US-based Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who will compete in the 100m, said: “I am very, very excited about the Diamond League coming to Africa.
“Sport is something that should connect the whole world and bring people together.
“So I think having the Diamond League here for the first time is really good for Africa and for sport in general.”
In March, Rabat finished ahead of rival meetings in Beijing, Ostrava and Rio de Janeiro in the contest to take up the Diamond League place vacated this year by New York – whose organisers will now stage a Street Games event.
Morocco has a long history in athletics and in organising world-class events such as the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech.