Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare scorched to a new 22.05 seconds personal season’s best to earn her first victory at the Pre-Fontaine IAAF Diamond League win on her 10th attempt, Completesports.com reports.
The elegant and beautifully built Nigerian was not considered favourites for the win in a lineup featuring Jamaica’s world leader at 22.00 seconds, Elaine Thompson
and Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith who came into the race with a 22.18 seconds personal season’s best.
Okagbare, running in her third 200m race at the meeting since she blazed to a 22.23 seconds, second place finish five years ago ran an inspiring race from lane eight to
register her first victory at the Classics.
The Nigerian has thus raced into second on the 2019 IAAF world list with her 22.05 seconds finish behind 2016 double Olympic sprint queen, Thompson. It was also the second fastest time run by a Nigerian nay African woman over the half lap and just one hundreth of a second outside the 22.04 seconds African record she set last year March in Abilene, Texas, USA.
Okagbare has also become the fourth fastest woman over the 200m at the Pre-Fontaine Diamond League meeting after USA’s Tori Bowie who ran inside 22 seconds (21.77) for the second year running to set a new meeting record after running 21.99 seconds in 2016, Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo who ran 21.91 seconds in 2017 to set a new national record and of course Jamaica’s Thompson who ran 21.98 seconds to come third also in 2017, the only year all top three broke 22 seconds in the half lap.
For her effort, Okagbare picked a cheque for $10,000 and eight maximum points which has hauled her from eighth in the Diamond League standings to joint third with Thompson on 14 points behind Asher-Smith on 22 points and Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands who has 17 points albeit she finished sixth in the race.
Okagbare is topping the standings in the 100m with 15 points and the Nigerian will look to extend the lead when she takes to the track for the blue ribband event at the Athletissima Diamond League meeting this Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland.
By Dare Esan