Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, Monday night, confirmed her rating as Africa’s fastest woman as she finished tops in grand style in the women’s 100m event at the ongoing 19th Edition of the African Athletic Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.
Okagbare, who recently clinched the sprint double at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, set a new Championship record of 11.00secs to secure Nigeria’s first gold medal at the flagship African athletics competition.
Okagbare’s Ivorian rival, Murielle Ahoure, finished in second place with a time of 11.03 secs while the other two Nigerian athletes in the finals Gloria Asunmu and Lawretta Ozoh were unable to make it to the podium finishing 4th and 7th respectively.
Speaking with journalists after another record making outing, Okagbare said she had to go extra mile for the win.
“I am very happy to have won the title because I just wanted to win for my fans and do my country proud,” Okagbare said.
“Just coming straight from the Commonwealth Games, my body is tired, but my coach told me to just focus and execute the race, which was what I did. Of course the competition was stiffer at the Commonwealth Games, but that is not to take anything away from Murielle Ahoure.
“She is a great athlete. It was good that we had three Nigerians in the final but this is Africa. I am hoping that we can have this kind of representation on a bigger platform, like the World Championships and the Olympics.
Unfortunately, Nigeria was not able to repeat the winning feat in the men’s 100m event as Mark Jelks settled for second position behind, Ivorian Wilfred Koffi Hua who won in a time of 10.05secs
Jelks won the silver finishing with a time of 10.07secs, while Edward Monzavous, another Nigerian, settled for bronze.
Another Nigerian, Ogho-Oghene Egwero, could only manage a 5thplace finish after posting a time of 10.28secs in the thrilling finals for men.