Blessing Okagbare might have failed to reproduce her recent record-breaking feat that saw her end Gloria Alozie’s African record in the 100m after coming sixth with 11.04secs in Moscow.
But the sprint queen could well have justified her course according to a track and field coach with England, Mike Ofuleka, who insists it is a herculean task to do six jumps in a day and return the following day to compete in two stellar packed 100m line-up.
He was analysing the playback of the 100m races from the heat to the final to Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi in the presence of newsmen.
“I think the Long Jump affected her but there were other technical things,” Mike said. “You saw how she started and what happened midway into the race.”
It has been reported that Okagbare, 24, had complained of pains in the morning of the final. She had planned to jump only two times and rest her body for the 100m semi-final and final on Monday.
But America’s Britney Reece pushed her for more with her second leap of 7.01m after the Nigerian had recorded a first jump of 6.89m.
Okagbare eventually completed the six-jump series, hitting a 6.99m effort that earned her silver, but paid for the victory with a rather lackluster and tiresome performance in the 100m the following day.
“Blessing cried all day after the race. Ogba brought her here. It was so painful to her. What pained her most was that the winner of the silver medal, Muriel Ahoure of Ivory Coast ran 10.93, a time that she could easily return,” Abdullahi added.
“I have discussed with AFN President, Chief Solomon Ogba for them to know which event to concentrate on any time a programme of a championships clashes like we had here,” Abdullahi said.
The minister, however, expects Nigerians to be grateful for the silver medal the multi-talented athlete won on Sunday, adding that “she is fine now and ready for the 200m.”
Abdullahi would also like AFN to aim at producing more top class athletes that could compete on the global stage, so as to ease the weight of expectancy on a single candidate. He said the National Sports Commision (NSC), which he heads, will be supportive in ensuring that more competent athletes are produced.
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the race in 10.71secs and Carmelita Jeter of USA placed third with 10.94.
Culled from Vanguard.