The President of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR, GCON), will today host Nigeria’s sprint queen Blessing Okagbare at the Aso Villa for her achievement thus far.
In a statement signed by the Head of Communication of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Olukayode Thomas, the presidential reception for the multi-talented athlete comes up at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting this morning.
President of the AFN, Solomon Ogba thanked the president and the Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi for their support to the country’s athletic community.
“The athletics family is grateful to President Jonathan; this is the third time he is hosting us. The President hosted us when we won the African Youth Championships, he hosted the Sydney 2000 team whose silver medal was upgraded to gold and now he is hosting Okagbare, we are more than grateful.”
Okagbare, 24, won silver in the long jump at last month’s World Championships in Moscow and bettered Nigeria’s status on the medal table with a Bronze medal in the 200m.
Ogba pointed out the contribution of the Sport Minister to the successes recorded by the country’s track and field in recent times.
“We would not have been African champions at youth, junior and senior level without the support of Mallam Abdullahi.
“He was with us in Porto Novo when we won the African title, he was with us in Warri when we won the youth title, he was with us again in Moscow when we broke the 14 year no-medal jinx at the IAAF World Championship. Mallam Abdullahi attends our local Golden League and even the All Nigeria Open. He is the first minister to give athletics priority, we are very grateful,” added Ogba.
Okagbare opened her international medal account at the 2007 All-Africa Games when she won the silver medal in the long jump.
The following year she won a bronze medal in the women’s long jump event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
She went on to win the double in 100 m and long jump double at the NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship for University of Texas at El Paso, completing an undefeated collegiate streak that year.
At the African championships in Kenya in 2010, she won gold in the long jump and gold in the 100m and added another gold in the 4x100m relay.
Okagbare similarly won three medals at the 2011 All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique. On July 27 this year at the London Anniversary Games, Okagbare set a new African record of 10.79secs in her 100m race.
She won the final about an hour later, setting a new African record of 10.79, in a race where she beat reigning 100m Olympic gold medalist, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. At the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Okagbare won the silver medal in the long jump. She also placed third in the Women’s 200m race.