–Ends 2015 season with IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich
By Dare Esan:
Blessing Okagbare has vowed to return to claim her place as one of the fastest and best sprinters the world has ever seen at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
In a message posted on her Facebook wall, the Commonwealth Games sprint queen acknowledged 2015 has been a year of mixed fortunes for her.
She recalls she started the season like a house on fire, running 10.98 seconds, the first of a record six sub-11 seconds run in a season by an African woman, at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shaghai, China on May 17.
Thirteen days later, Okagbare ran 10.87 seconds, her second fastest time of the year, at the Prefontaine Classic (IAAF Diamond League) in Eugene, Oregon,USA.
In June, the flying, six-time Nigeria 100m champion showed her readiness to be among the best in the world when she ran 10.80 seconds, her second career fastest time to place second behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pyrce at the IAAF Diamond League meeting at the Stade de France in Saint-Dennis in Paris.
Soon after, precisely on July 9 in Lausanne, Switzerland, the reigning African 100m queen copped a knee injury competing in the long jump event and had to scratch out of the 200m event at the same IAAF Diamond League meeting.
Okagbare bounced back on July 25 at the Olympic stadium in London where she ran 10.98 behind Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers to raise hopes of her readiness to make history as the first Nigerian, man or woman, to win a blue ribband title at the world championships.
In Beijing at the 15th IAAF World Championships, wishes refused to be horses for the talented, Sapele-born lady who described her performance in the 100m final where she placed last as ‘one of the most unfortunate and darkest periods in Blessing’s Career’.
A sore hamstring injury, according to her, ensured she could not come out for both the 200m and the 4x100m events.
“Despite all these Blessing was able to honour her commitment to the Diamond League and finished her season on a high note with a second place finish behind Fraser-Pryce at the 100 meters in Zurich, Switzerland,” the message on her wall read.
Okagbare has now put the disappointment of 2015 behind her and hopes to get healthier ahead of preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The sprinter also confirmed she would not be participating in the on-going All Africa Games in Congo and will thus not defend the long jump title she won four years ago in Maputo, Mozambique.