By Dare Esan:
Reigning Nigeria double sprints queen Blessing Okagbare may be forced to choose between competing in either the long jump or 200m events at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio De Janieiro due to the scheduling of the athletics events for the fiesta.
The Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) had listed the former African 100m record holder for three individual events at the Games soon after she successfully completed a sprints double at the Nigeria track and field championships in Sapele, Delta state last week.
But Complete Sports’ perusal of the timetable of events reveals that both the long jump and 200m events will start on the same day.
The 200m semi-final and the qualification jumps for the long jump final will both come up on the evening of August 16 (Day 5 of the athletics events) while the finals for both events will be held the next evening, August 17.
Complete Sports recalls that the clash in the day for the long jump and 100m events at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia was attributed as the reason for Okagbare’s inability to make it to the podium in the 100m despite running a then African record time of 10.79 seconds prior to the championships.
The Nigerian won silver in the long jump event and failed to fulfil expectations in the blue ribband event, finishing sixth (11.04 seconds) in the final.