Okagbare-Igho & Fraser-Pryce Up against Vim & Vigour in Shanghai

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Multi-talented athlete Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor returns to Shanghai on Sunday for the second leg of the 2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar, looking to post better result in the women’s 100m.

The Commonwealth Games double sprint champion will be back in the Shanghai stadium, one of her favourite venues from 2014 when she set Meeting Records in the 200m and Long Jump– same event she won bronze and silver medals respectively at the IAAF World Championships in 2013.

The 26-year-old has, however, not competed in either categories this year and, fresh off the back of the World Relays in the Bahamas, has set her sight on the 100m in the Chinese city.

Okagbare-Igho will seek to improve on her 11.05secs time in the short sprint at last week’s Jamaica International Invitational Meet, on her route to a runners-up berth behind fast-rising Jamaican Elaine Thompson, who on her own part finished short of her 10.92secs World Leading time by five seconds.

Blessing Okagbare Broke the 200m Meet Record at the Shanghai Diamond League in May 2014. Image: Getty.
Blessing Okagbare Broke the 200m Meet Record at the Shanghai Diamond League in May 2014. Image: Getty.

The Delta State-born athlete faces familiar oppositions in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and fellow Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown, as well as the United States duo of Torie Bowie and Lee Muna, and Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago.

Fraser-Pryce, yet to run the 100m this year, might struggle to get over track rustiness- especially coming on the heels of an injury-hampered 2014- but same cannot be said of Campbell-Brown, who did 11.04secs to beat Carmelita Jeter and Sherone Simpson in Rio de Janeiro last month. 2014 fastest woman Bowie and Ahye, who have already posted Season Best times of 10.94secs and 10.97secs respectively in 2015 are formidable threats to the trio of leading athletes.

On the side of experience, racing along with reigning world and Olympic champion, Fraser-Pryce and African Record holder, Okagbare-Igho, will always prove a daunting test for the up and comers.

Nonetheless, it is early days in the Diamond Race and as every athlete aim to build better momentum ahead of the Worlds in Beijing later this year; the Diamond League season, which already started with a bang in Doha on Friday, could, better still, offer early twists and turns while track and field enthusiasts wait to savour every bit of it with greater expectations.

This is for sure, when it comes to the sprint business, only time will tell.

Asked when she would like to tackle the 100m, 200m and long jump all at a major championship, Okagbare-Igho said: “I think about doing all three quite a lot but it would only happen if the schedule was right for me. It’s not easy, but maybe some day I will when I have the opportunity. Until then I’ll stick to what I can do on the big stage.”

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