Blessing Okagbare produced double African Records on her way to claiming a well deserved victory in the 100m at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in the Olympic Stadium, London, on Saturday.
A 10.86secs finish time in the preliminary heat was bettered with another 10.79secs in the final as the Delta-born athlete recovered from an average start to power to victory ahead of Barbara Pierre of United States, who came second with a joint personal best of 10.85secs.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste came third in 10.93secs, while Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce failed to recover from a poor start to finish fourth in 10.94secs.
Cote d’Ivoires Murielle Ahoure took the fifth position in 10.95secs.
“I just wanted to put up a good race and I’m so excited,” Okagbare said after the race. “For me, I just want to do my best and I’ve been working hard and have tried to stay on top of my recovery.”
Looking on to next month’s IAAF World Championships, Okagbare has successfully put behind her the poor memories of London 2012 by producing a wind assisted (+1.1mps) personal and season bests of 10.79secs at the London IAAF Diamond League meeting and she hopes to get better than that.
“I’m hoping when it comes to Moscow that I’ll be ready.”
Six women broke the 11secs barrier in the two preliminary heats, but it was Okagbare and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who immediately stood out as top contenders with an African record of 10.86secs and a world-leading meeting record of 10.77secs respectively.
Americas’ Carmelita Jeters and Pierre, Baptiste and Ahoure were the other sub-11 sprinters that came through the two preliminary heats.
Jeter, who has struggled with a hamstring injury this season, unfortunately pulled out of the final.
In the final heat, Okagbare’s 0.146 reaction time was relatively slower than Pierre’s 0.182, but the Nigerian powered to the finish line in another African record time of 10.79 as the top five all ran under 11secs.
On the Diamond League chart, Fraser Pryce now leads Okagbare by 2 points in the 100m as both athletes maintains the top two spots with 12 and 10 points respectively.