As the minutes tick away from the commencement day of the London 2012 Olympics, one Nigerian athlete to watch at the global tourney is Blessing Okagbare, who will compete in the women’s long jump and in the 100m dash.
The 23-year-old sent warning signals to her potential rivals in London by winning her fourth successive Nigerian women’s 100m title ahead of her Delta State compatriot, Gloria Asumnu at the 66th All Nigeria (Olympic Trials)/Cross-Rivers State Athletics Championships in Calabar, last June.
Okagbare, the reigning African 100m champion from Nairobi 2010, had needed every speed that she could muster for her to outrun Asumnu on the line to win in 11.12 – 11.13 secs.
Speaking on the feat of being the first Nigerian to win the event four times consecutively, the bronze medalist at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, said that she hopes to do much better at the London Olympics.
“I am so excited to win this title four times in a row now even though it is not my best performance. I hope to work harder to get something in London. It was a tough race but I thank God I still emerged winner” she said.
Though she settled for a silver medal at the African Championships in Porto Novo, Okagbare also continued to raise Nigeria’s hope of winning a medal in the long jump event in London by jumping 6.9m to win gold at the Benin tourney.
The Sapele-born sprinter, who shocked the world last Saturday at the Samsung Diamond League in Aviva, London, by claiming a gold medal in 100m in 11.01secs, is one of the most reliable athletes that the sports-loving Nigerian fans are ready to stake their money on to win medals at the coming Olympics.