Nigeria’s undisputed queen of the track, Blessing Okagbare has raced to victory in the women’s 100m events on the opening day of the 2021 National Olympic Games trial in Lagos.
Okagbare an Olympics, World, and Commonwealth Games medalist finished in 10.62 seconds finish to win the women’s 100m title and her eighth National title in the event. With the win, she pushed aside Endurance Ojokolo to become the second most decorated sprinter in the blue ribband race after Mary Onyali who won 11 titles.
US-based athlete, Rosemary Chukwuma finished second in 11.07 while National Sports Festival winner, Grace Nwokocha finished third in 11.11 seconds to keep her fine form going.
In the semi-final heat, the experienced athlete showed fans what to expect in the final when she scorched to a 10.99 seconds finish.
Her 10.63 seconds result is the fastest time ever recorded in the national championship and the 2014 Commonwealth Games double sprint gold medal winner said she is in great form ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games.
“I feel healthy, stronger and like the real Blessing Okagbare again. I am really happy that this time came down today, it will boost my confidence, my faith and trust in God. I just hope this same thing happens at the Olympics,” she said.
“I have been working on everything and I hope it counts at the big stage, that’s the Olympics. I was very disappointed at my last meet when I ran 11.2, I was like this is not me, so when they mentioned the trials, I said I am going to be there, not because I just want to run, but because I really want to compete and run well. But above all, I am healthier and when you have good health, the confidence will be there, and I am hoping for the best in Tokyo.
“I have to go to the Olympics, do better than I did, or better still replicate it, you might not need to run like this to win the Olympics, at the Games you just want to get to the finishing line.”
In the men’s category, with the absence of US-based Divine Oduduru and Raymond Ekevwo, the fans were looking up to the Edo 2020 Festival duo of Alaba Akintola and rave of the moment, Enoch Adegoke to win the trials.
Akintola however picked up an injury in the semis leaving Adegoke who raced home in a new 10.00 seconds personal best and also confirmed his place in Team Nigeria’s flight to the Olympics in Tokyo.
Adegoke thought he had made the 10.05 seconds entry standard in the semi-final but he was just one-hundredth of a second off the time as he was timed 10.06 seconds.