Photo Credit: UTEP News

Beijing 2008 Long Jump Silver medallist, Blessing Okagbare, has been bestowed the rare honour of being named University of Texas El Paso’s (UTEP) best ever female athlete by The Prospector, which has served as the student voice of UTEP since 1915.

Okagbare won several laurels for the institution from 2008 to 2010, and was inducted into the UTEP Hall of Fame in October, 2017. This is how The Prospector captures Okagbare’s achievements over the years:

“Unmatched and untouched, Blessing Okagbare will be known as the greatest female Miner athlete in UTEP history. After a long drought with the program struggling, Okagbare helped raise the track and field program and pave the way for its modern-day success that UTEP track and field has achieved.

“Through three seasons, Okagbare secured 11 All-American honors, which set the path for her long-fought career. She won four NCAA championships in total, winning one in the 60-meter dash, 100-meter dash and the long jump. Okagbare also took home 15 conference championships during her time with the program.

“During the 2008 and 2010 seasons, Okagbare set a combined nine school records and was undefeated in the 100-meter dash and long jump in 2008.”

Other Miners who made the Top 5 all-time list are Melinda Sergent, Track and Field (1991-1996); Kayla Thornton—Basketball (2010-2014); Kim Turner—Track and Field (1981-84), and Camilla Carrera—Softball (2008-2012).

Another Nigerian athlete, Tobi Amusan got an honourable mention as well. This is what The Prospector had to say about the hurdler’s impeccable performance for UTEP before going pro:

“In back-to-back years, Tobi Amusan shined not only in Conference USA for track and field, but she made a global impact in the hurdle events. A native of Nigeria, she captured the 2017 NCAA championship in the 100-meter hurdles. She is also a two-time C-USA female track Athlete of the Year.

“In 2016, Amusan ran for Nigeria in the Olympics. She advanced to the semifinals in the 100-meter hurdles and was .2 seconds away from being in the finals. After her conference championship, Amusan decided to go pro for track and field and untimely left the school.”

Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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