It was a photo finish in the finals of the 100m women’s event at the ongoing 66th Cross River state/All Nigeria Open Athletics championship where Blessing Okagbare came tops and entered the record book as the first female athlete to win four straight titles on the bounce.
After an initial false start, the finest Nigerian female athletes literally set the wet Calabar tracks on fire with a keenly contested race.
At the end it was the country’s brightest medal prospect at the London Olympics, Okagbare that got the crown.
Okagbare won in a time of 11.12secs and was closely followed by United States based Gloria Asunmu 11.13secs who many initially thought had won the race. Lawreta Ozoh finished third in a time 11.39sec and surprisingly Damola Osayomi finished in a disappointing fourth position; a situation which suggests that she might not be competing in the 100m event at the London Olympics.
Happy for the feat attained, Okagbare told Premium Times that she hopes to do much better at the London Olympics
“I am so excited to win this title four times in a row now even though it is not my best performance. I hope to work harder to get something in London. It was a tough race but I thank God I still emerged tops,” she said.
In other events already concluded, Queensley Asedo (Police) won gold in the 20km walk race for Women in a time of 1hr.49min.13secs while Queen Henshaw and Kareem Bolanle got silver and bronze respectively. In the men’s category, Adeyemi Kazeem (Police) won Gold while Elegbede Bamidele and Lawal Oluwaseyi settled for silver and bronze medals respectively.
In the 10,000m men’s final, Tokbe Gwete (Borno state) won Gold in a time of 34.09.26secs while Bulus John (Bauchi) and Danjuma Kopkuddi (NIS) got silver and bronze medals respectively.
Kenechukwu Ezeofor with a throw of 16.53m won the shot put event.