Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare-Ighotegunor has secured qualifications for the 2019 World Championships in Doha and also the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, after storming to an impressive Season’s Best (SB) of 11.07s to finish 2nd at the Shanghai Diamond League on Saturday.
Okagbare who was competing in her first 100m of the season, looked to be in great form chasing down Aleia Hobbs who won the race, also with an SB, crossing the line in 11.03s. Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson finished 3rd in that race with an SB of 11.14s.
This is Okagbare’s second outing of 2019, having raced to an SB of 23.14s to finish 3rd in the 200m, two weeks ago at the Doha Diamond League.
Okagbare is now on course to make her fourth Olympic appearance for Nigeria, having made her bow 11 years ago at the Beijing Olympics, where she won Bronze in the women’s Long Jump.
The women’s 100m qualification standard for the Olympic Games is 11.15s, and 11.24s for the World Championships later this year. With an early qualification for both championships, Okagbare can now switch focus to adequately preparing for them.
Last year, Okagbare ran a wind-aided 10.72s (+2.7) which saw her missing out on the African Record (AR). She did get the AR in the 200m, blazing out to 22.04s.
Having recovered from the injuries that blighted her campaign last year, a resurgent Okagbare could be one of the athletes to challenge for major honours this season when she squares up against some of the world’s best.