Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare fizzled out when it mattered most as she finished in a disappointing 6th position in the final leg of the 200m Women’s event of the money spinning IAAF Diamond League on Friday night.
Going into Friday night’s final showdown in Brussels, many had expected a straight fight for the N6.5m (USD$40,000) jackpot and the Diamond Race trophy between Okagbare and her American rival, Allyson Felix.
However while Felix turned on style in the grand finale to run a world leading and season best time of 22.02s, Okagabre could only manage a time of 22.60secs; her slowest time in the Diamond League this year.
For many, Okagbare may have burned out of steam going into the make or mar race.
Before being overtaken by Felix on the standings, Okagabre had dominated in the 200m in the Diamond League this season and was leading the pack, but had to skip the meetings in Stockholm and Birmingham to compete at the Commonwealth Games and African Championships, which gave Felix the much needed edge.
Felix thus went into Friday’s finale with 13 points while Okagbare was on 11 points; thus making victory a must for Africa’s fastest woman in order to secure the N6.5m (USD$40,000) bonus and the Diamond Race trophy.
Having failed in what could easily pass for her last race, Okagbare will take consolation on the other successes recorded earlier in the season which includes amongst others two gold medals at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and another two at the African Athletics Championships in Morocco.