Hopes of Nigeria’s queen of the tracks, Blessing Okagbare-Ighotegunor, causing an upset and perhaps emerging tops at the final leg of the money-spinning Diamond League in Zurich has been dashed.
Okagbare in Thursday’s 100m race was disqualified for a false start thus giving her no room to challenge for the $50,000 first prize money.
That was a big letdown for the Commonwealth double sprints queen, who was seeking to finish her season on a bright note the way she started out in March.
Okagbare had raced to the top of the world list with an incredible African record-setting 22.04 seconds run in the 200m in Abilene, Texas, USA.
That nonetheless, three other African sprinters, South Africa’s Carina Horn and Ivory Coast’s Marie La Tou and Murielle Ahoure were in the start list and the race was won by Ahoure who could not make it down for Asaba 2018 due to injury.
Ahoure won in a time of 11.01 seconds, with compatriot Marie-Josee Ta Lou in third and the Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith was second.
Elsewhere, South Africa’s Caster Semenya won her third Diamond League title in the 800m.
Kenya’s Olympic and world champion Conseslus Kipruto won the 3,000m steeplechase, despite running most of the race with one shoe.
Scotland’s Eilidh Doyle was fifth in the 400m hurdles, which was won by American Dalilah Muhammad.
The finals in 32 events are being split between Thursday’s meeting in Zurich and Friday’s in Brussels.
Another Nigerian, Tobi Amusan will be competing on Friday in Brussels.
Amusan has her work well cut out as she would be up against seven of the fastest hurdlers in the world this year, having qualified in 8th place with 12 points.
Top on the Diamond League standings is Olympic Champion Brianna McNeal, World Record holder Kendra Harrison of USA, teammate Sharika Nelvis, as well as former World Champion Danielle Williams.
Despite the star-studded list, Amusan will aim for a good finish in her first ever Diamond League final having enjoyed a blistering season in which she won the Commonwealth and African titles.
Tunde Eludini is a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he studied International Relations. He is a Senior Correspondent coordinating the sports section for PREMIUM TIMES. Twitter: @tundeyeludini