The first medal hope for Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare is off her sleeves following the conclusion of the women’s 100m final at the ongoing Rio Olympic Games.
Okagbare, who made the finals of this same event at the London Olympics four years ago but finished last, could not match her performance as she could not make it beyond the semi finals in Rio.
The reigning commonwealth champion finished 3rd in her semi final race with a time of 11.09 but the intensity of the races ensured that only athletes that ran under 11seconds made it to the final.
In the final race proper, Elaine Thompson ended the eight-year Olympic reign of her training partner and compatriot, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, in a thrilling final as the Jamaican secured gold in a stunning 10.71, the second-fastest winning time in the history of the women’s Olympic 100m final.
Tori Bowie finished with a late charge to take silver with Fraser-Pryce earning bronze from Ta Lou in a photo-finish by 0.007, 9.852 to 9.859.
Ta Lou, the only African in the final, had to settle for fourth but successive lifetime bests in both her semi-final (10.94) and then the final should fill the 27-year-old with huge confidence.
European champion, Dafne Schippers, finished fifth while Michelle-Lee Ahye earned a sixth place spot in Rio while it was a disappointing seventh place finish for US champion, English Gardner.
The quality of the race was also emphasised by the fact the race produced more women under 11 seconds than in any previous Olympic 100m final with seven, the previous best high water mark having been six in London four years ago.
With the 100m gone, Okagbare will have to shift focus to the relays as well as the 200m and long jump events for a possible podium finish in Rio.