For the second time in eight days former Commonwealth Games sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare failed to race into Nigerian record books as the first athlete to win an IAAF Diamond League title after she placed fifth in the 100m event Friday evening at the AG Memorial Van Damme meeting, the 14th and final leg of the money spinning IAAF Diamond League meetings. Completesports.com reports.
The six-time Nigeria 100m queen also failed to break 11 seconds for the first time this year, running 11.24 seconds in a race the duo of Dina Asher-Smith of England (10.88) and Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pyrce (10.95) broke 11 seconds to come first and second respectively with reigning African Games champion, Marie-Josee Ta Lou third in 11.09 seconds.
Okagbare first failed in her bid last week in Zurich at the Weltklasse Diamond League meeting where she ran 22.62 seconds to place sixth.
She will now turn her focus to the World Championship in Doha where she will hope to win her second sprint medal after the 200m bronze she won six years ago in Moscow, Russia.
In the 100m hurdles, Amusan’s bid to also make history was truncated by a false start. All eyes were on the petite Nigerian to either race to glory or break Glory Alozie’s 21 year old 12.44 seconds African record after running 12.51 seconds at the IAAF World Challenge in Berlin early in the week.
While Okagbare will go home with $5000 instead of the $50,000 she came for, Amusan goes home with nothing for false starting.
With both Okagbare and Amusan faltering in their historic bids, Falilat Ogunkoya remains the first and only Nigerian athlete who has been crowned champion of an IAAF one day meeting of elite athletes pre the Diamond League era.
Ogunkoya ran 49.73 seconds to win the 400m title at the 1998 IAAF Golden League final in Moscow.
By Dare Esan