Nigerian sprinter Gloria Asumnu will represent Team Africa in the 100m at theIAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech this weekend, following the withdrawal of national, African and Commonwealth champion, Blessing Okagbare.
The competition was meant to be Okagbare’s last outing for the season, but her sixth place finish in the 200m at the second final of the IAAF Diamond League in Brussels last week was perhaps an indication that the African record holder needed to take a break after a long and eventful season, which saw her emerge as double sprint champion at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and African title holder in Marrakech.
Her place in the African team will now be taken by Asumnu, who finished second at the National Trials in Calabar in June where she clocked a Season’s Best (SB) of 11.15s. The former African 200m champion will now team up with Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie J Ta Lou Gonezie to represent the African continent in the 100m.
Asumnu represented Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games where she placed eight in the final and won silver in the 4x100m behind Jamaica. She proceeded to the African Championships where she finished fourth in the final which had three Nigerians, with a time of 11.49s, while Lawretta Ozoh placed seventh in 11.74s.
She also ran the first leg in the 4x100m race, which was won by Nigeria. However she lost her 200m crown to double silver medallist at the 2013 World Championships, Murielle Ahouré (22.36s), finishing fifth this time around, while team mate, Dominique Duncan emerged the surprise medallist, taking bronze in 22.98s.
Asumnu’s SB puts her 36th in 2014 world rankings, and incidentally ranks higher than Ta Lou Gonezie who has posted 11.20s as her fastest time this season, and is 43rd on the list. They will be facing Michelle-Lee Ahye and Veronica Campbell-Brown who will be representing the Americas. Ahye has the second fastest time in 2014 (10.85s), while Campbell-Brown is No.4 with 10.86s.
They would also have to be wary of the threat the European pair of Dafne Schippers and Myriam Soumaré pose, as they jointly occupy the 13th spot in the rankings with 11.03s and would be aiming to go under 11s for the first time. Asia-Pacific’s Melissa Breen (24th with 11.11s) and Olga Safronova (54th with 11.23s) complete the field.
The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Gloria Asumnu will be representing Team Africa in the women’s 100m on Saturday Sept 13th at 8.40pm.
Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!