Blessing Okagbare

Blessing Okagbare, Nigerian track and field athlete, has become the second-fastest woman in the world after she finished 10.63 seconds at the national Olympics trials in Lagos.

The time also breaks her own personal record as the fastest African and Nigerian woman ever.

The Nigerian queen of the track ended up a millisecond behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on the World Athletics’ log.

The 32-year-old, who was running in the country for the first time since 2016, breezed past her competitors at the women’s 100 metres final.

She finished the race at 10.62 seconds but a +2.7 tailwind forced the time back to 10.63 seconds.

“I feel like Blessing Okagbare once again. And I just want to go out every time and do my best. I feel happy. I’m really happy that this time came down today. It boosts my confidence. I just hope this same thing happens at the Olympics,” she said after the race.

“I’ve been working on everything in general. I hope it clicks where it counts at the big stage. I have to go to the Games and do better than this or reciprocate it. This finish boosts my confidence going to the Games.”

Okagbare’s record is, however, subject to ratification by the World Athletics.

Rosemary Chukwuma finished second ahead of Grace Nwokocha in third.

Meanwhile, in the men’s 100 meters event, Enoch Adegoke became the 12 Nigerian athletes to qualify for Tokyo.

He finished a new personal best of 10.00 seconds ahead of Ucheoritshe Itshekiri and Brume Okeoghene.

An elated Adegoke said he has longed for the sort of time he finished the race with, pledging that he will improve on his performance and get to the finals in Tokyo.

“I have to wait for a time like this. It’s been a long time. I’ve been looking for a time like this. Every competition, it’s always on my mind I have to run the competition standard,” he said.

“My target going to the Olympics is to get to the final and better my time.”

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