Nigeria’s foremost athlete Blessing Okagbare, who was part of Nigeria’s 4x100m quartet who finished 4th at the World Relays at the weekend, will be going for yet another Diamond League double this weekend in Eugene, USA, after her Long Jump and 200 metres wins on the same night in Shanghai a couple of weeks ago.
She will be contesting the Long Jump on Friday evening (May 30th) from 7pm local time (3am Nigerian time – not televised live). For the first time this season she’ll be up against the Olympic and 3-time World Champion, USA’s Brittney Reese, who beat Blessing by just 2 centimetres at last year’s World Championships. The whole field is strong – also competing is last year’s Long Jump Diamond League winner, Britian’s Shara Proctor, as well as USA’s Janay Deloach Soukup and Russia’s Darya Klishina, both of whom have jumped further than Blessing’s Personal Best of 7.00 metres during their careers. It will be interesting to see if Blessing is able to stretch her lead in the Diamond League standings for the Long Jump – she currently leads the standings, with 4 points from her win in Shanghai!
The 200 metres on Saturday at 10.13pm Nigerian time (Live on SS6) will be no less challenging. Blessing will be up against reigning 200m World Champion, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, as well as current Olympic Champion, USA’s Alyson Felix, who is in her first 200 metre race since pulling up at last year’s World Championships Finals, where Blessing got the Bronze. The Silver Medallist in that race, Cote d’Ivoire’s Murielle Ahoure also races for the first time this season, so there will be plenty of competition for the first three spots, to win Diamond League points – Blessing also leads here, with 4 points from her 200m win in Shanghai!
There is no other Nigerian interest in this weekend’s Diamond League in Eugene, as 2-time Nigerian 400m Champion Regina George will not feature in the women’s 400 metres – one can only hope that we will see her again in the Diamond League soon, to replicate the form that saw her run a stunning 49.4 second split in the Bronze medal performance of Nigeria’s 4x400m women’s quartet at last week’s inaugural World Relay Championships. It would also seem that the 400m hurdles would also not feature Bahrain’s Kemi Adekoya, who just switched her allegiance from Nigeria, announcing her arrival with a new National Record for Bahrain at the Doha Diamond League earlier this month in 54.59s, the fastest time in the world this year!
For Nigerian viewers, SuperSport 6 (DSTV Channel 206) will show the Eugene Diamond League meet LIVE from 9 – 11pm Nigerian time on Saturday (May 31st).
Blessing Okagbare will be going in the women’s 200m at 10.13pm. The women’s 400m will be at 9.24pm, while the women’s 400m hurdles will kick off the live broadcast, at 9.03pm.
Making of Champions will be bringing you special updates and reports ahead of, during and after each Diamond League event in 2014, with a particular focus on Nigeria’s leading athletes – stay tuned!
2014 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 9 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
Eugene, USA – 31 May
Rome, ITA – 5 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun
New York, USA – 14 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul
Paris, FRA – 5 Jul
Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul
Monaco, MON – 18 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug
Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug
Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep