By Dare Esan:
For the second time in one week, Nigeria’s greatest sprinter of all time Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor failed to live up to the incredible height she has set for herself this season after placing fourth in a rather disappointing 11.12 seconds at the Bislett Games in Oslo, the fourth leg of the 14-leg IAAF Diamond League series, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Last weeknd in Hengelo, Holland, the former Commonwealth double sprints queen ran 23.03 seconds in the 200m to place — a performance the television commentator described as below par and disappointing following the blistering 22.04 seconds she ran in March in Abilene, Texas to top the world list for the year.
Oslo provided the pretty Nigerian the opportunity to prove her unispiring race at the Fanny Blankers Koen race in Hengelo was a one-off but she failed to rise up to the challenge as was not only bettered for the second time in three races by Cote d’Ivoire’s Murielle Ahoure, who ran 10.91 seconds to win the race, but also by Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith who raced home second to a new 10.92 seconds personal best and British record.
Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Michelle Lee Ahyle came third in a new personal season’s best time of 11.06 seconds.
For her fourth placing run, Okagbare-Ighoteguonor was rewarded with $3000 and five points to bring her total haul in three races to 14 points to place third behind Ahoure, who now has 20 points against the 16 hauled by Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who won in Doha and Eugene, to make it a clean sweep of the three races decided so far by Ivorians.
Meanwhile, Okagbare-Ighoteguonor has been provided with an instant opportunity to respond when she lines up on Sunday at the Olympic Stadium in Stockholm for the fifth leg of the money-spinning event.
Interestingly the Nigerian will line up against six of the athletes she competed against in Oslo. Will this be an opportunity to out-run the speedy Ahoure who denied the Nigerian the African 100m record, breaking the 10.79 seconds she (Okagbare-Ighoteguonor) ran in 2013 by 100th of a second the following year?
She will also strive to run faster than the record-breaking British girl Asher-Smith and of course with South Africa’s Carina Horn who placed sixth (11.22 seconds) in Oslo also in the mix in Stockholm.
This is will be Okagbare-Ighoteguonor’s first race in Stockholm while it will be the second for Ahoure who won the 200m event last year. Horn is also making a return trip following her first appearance in 2015.
Conspicuosly missing for the second race running however is Ta Lou who holds the world lead at 10.85 seconds.