By Dare Esan:
Former African sprints queen Blessing Okagbare will not be in action when the IAAF Diamond League train makes its second of 14 stops this weekend in Shanghai, China, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Nigerian ran an uninspiring 23.15 seconds to place sixth in the opening leg of the money-spinning one day meeting last weekend in Doha, Qatar and looks to have missed out on the chance to redeem herself at the big stage following her non-listing in the provisional list of sprinters made available on the website of the organisers for the 100m event.
This would be the second straight season the Nigerian 100m record holder at 10.79 seconds will be missing the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai after making her debut in 2011, coming third (11.23 seconds) in the 100m.
Okagbare made a quick return to Shanghai the following year (2012), running 22.71 seconds to place third in the 200m and jumping 6.64m to place second in the long jump.
The 2008 Olympics long jump bronze medal winner was also in Shanghai in 2013, 2014 and 2015 with the highlight of her performance the 10.98 secods she ran to place first in the blue ribband event in 2015 and the 22.36 seconds she ran in the 200m to place first in 2014.
Okagbare's performance since last year has given local athletics watchers much cause for worry especially after she failed to make the final of the 100m event in Rio at the Olympics as well as failing to legally break 11 seconds at 100m, a feat she has been achieving since 2011.
Meanwhile, reigning World and Olympics double sprint champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica is the favourite to win Saturday's 100m race in Shanghai.
Fresh from her commanding display over 200m in Doha last Friday where she ran 22.19 seconds into a massive -2.3 metres per second (mps) headwind to win ahead of Dutch girl Dafne Schippers, Thompson is tipped to outrun Tori Bowie of USA who is the 200m world leader at 22.09 seconds,Muriel Ahoure of Cote D'Ivoire and Nigerian-born Morolake Akinosun of the USA who have been confirmed for the race.