Blessing OKAGBARE-IGHOTEGUONOR

Athlete Profile

  • COUNTRY
    Nigeria Nigeria
  • DATE OF BIRTH
    09 OCT 1988
    ATHLETE'S IAAF CODE
    227190
Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare celebrates after winning the 100m (Getty Images)

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
100 Metres 10.79 +1.1 London (GBR) 27 JUL 2013
100 Metres 10.72 * +2.7 Austin, TX (USA) 31 MAR 2018
200 Metres 22.04 +0.5 Abilene, TX (USA) 24 MAR 2018 AR
300 Metres 37.04 Pasadena (USA) 23 MAR 2013
400 Metres 53.34 Walnut (USA) 18 APR 2015
Long Jump 7.00 0.0 Monaco (MON) 19 JUL 2013
Long Jump 7.14 * +2.2 Doha (QAT) 10 MAY 2013
Triple Jump 14.13 +2.0 Lagos (NGR) 19 MAY 2007
4x100 Metres Relay 41.79 Walnut (USA) 20 APR 2013
4x200 Metres Relay 1:30.52 Nassau (BAH) 02 MAY 2015 AR

Legend

* Not legal.

Indoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
60 Metres 7.18 Houston, TX (USA) 26 FEB 2010
200 Metres 23.52 Lincoln (USA) 06 FEB 2010
Long Jump 6.87 Fayetteville, AR (USA) 12 MAR 2010
Triple Jump 13.64 Fayetteville, AR (USA) 16 FEB 2008

Legend

* Not legal.

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
100 Metres 10.90 +1.5 Doha (QAT) 04 MAY 2018
100 Metres 10.72 +2.7 Austin, TX (USA) 31 MAR 2018
200 Metres 22.04 +0.5 Abilene, TX (USA) 24 MAR 2018 AR
4x100 Metres Relay 42.75 Gold Coast (AUS) 14 APR 2018

Outdoor

100 Metres

Performance Wind Place Date
2018 10.90 +1.5 Doha (QAT) 04 MAY 2018
2017 10.99 -1.4 London (GBR) 09 JUL 2017
2016 11.02 +0.3 Sapele (NGR) 07 JUL 2016
2015 10.80 +0.2 Paris (FRA) 04 JUL 2015
2014 10.85 +0.3 Glasgow (GBR) 28 JUL 2014
2013 10.79 +1.1 London (GBR) 27 JUL 2013
2012 10.92 +1.0 London (GBR) 04 AUG 2012
2011 11.08 +2.0 Eugene, OR (USA) 04 JUN 2011
2010 11.00 +0.3 London (GBR) 14 AUG 2010
2009 11.16 -0.1 Abuja (NGR) 24 JUL 2009

Outdoor

200 Metres

Performance Wind Place Date
2018 22.04 +0.5 Abilene, TX (USA) 24 MAR 2018
2017 22.87 +1.3 Lubbock, TX (USA) 28 APR 2017
2016 22.58 +1.8 Sollentuna (SWE) 28 JUN 2016
2015 22.67 -2.8 New York, NY (USA) 13 JUN 2015
2014 22.23 +1.5 Eugene, OR (USA) 31 MAY 2014
2013 22.31 +1.3 Walnut (USA) 20 APR 2013
2012 22.63 +0.8 Eugene, OR (USA) 02 JUN 2012
2011 22.94 +1.2 Budapest (HUN) 30 JUL 2011
2010 22.71 -0.1 Lignano Sabbiadoro (ITA) 18 JUL 2010
2008 23.76 +0.6 El Paso, TX (USA) 16 MAY 2008

Outdoor

300 Metres

Performance Place Date
2013 37.04 Pasadena (USA) 23 MAR 2013

Outdoor

400 Metres

Performance Place Date
2015 53.34 Walnut (USA) 18 APR 2015

Outdoor

Long Jump

Performance Wind Place Date
2017 6.77 +0.8 Székesfehérvár (HUN) 04 JUL 2017
2016 6.73 +1.6 Eugene, OR (USA) 27 MAY 2016
2015 6.66 +1.1 Lausanne (SUI) 09 JUL 2015
2014 6.86 +0.1 Shanghai (CHN) 18 MAY 2014
2013 7.00 0.0 Monaco (MON) 19 JUL 2013
2012 6.97 +0.3 Calabar (NGR) 23 JUN 2012
2011 6.78 +1.5 Calabar (NGR) 25 JUN 2011
2010 6.88 +1.9 Austin, TX (USA) 02 APR 2010
2009 6.73 +0.2 Abuja (NGR) 24 JUL 2009
2008 6.91 +0.1 Beijing (CHN) 22 AUG 2008
2007 6.51 NWI Abuja (NGR) 02 MAR 2007
2006 6.16 +0.1 Aboekuta (NGR) 13 APR 2006

Outdoor

Triple Jump

Performance Wind Place Date
2010 12.80 Norwalk, CA (USA) 20 MAR 2010
2009 13.59 +0.8 Fayetteville, AR (USA) 13 JUN 2009
2008 14.07 Abuja (NGR) 03 JUL 2008
2007 14.13 +2.0 Lagos (NGR) 19 MAY 2007
2006 13.38 +0.2 Aboekuta (NGR) 17 APR 2006

Outdoor

4x100 Metres Relay

Performance Place Date
2018 42.75 Gold Coast (AUS) 14 APR 2018
2016 42.55 Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 18 AUG 2016
2015 42.99 Nassau (BAH) 03 MAY 2015
2014 42.67 Nassau (BAH) 24 MAY 2014
2013 41.79 Walnut (USA) 20 APR 2013
2012 42.64 London (GBR) 10 AUG 2012
2011 42.74 Daegu (KOR) 04 SEP 2011
2010 43.45 Nairobi (KEN) 30 JUL 2010

Outdoor

4x200 Metres Relay

Performance Place Date
2015 1:30.52 Nassau (BAH) 02 MAY 2015
2010 1:34.20 Des Moines, IA (USA) 23 APR 2010

Indoor

60 Metres

Performance Place Date
2009/10 7.18 Houston, TX (USA) 26 FEB 2010

Indoor

200 Metres

Performance Place Date
2009/10 23.52 Lincoln (USA) 06 FEB 2010

Indoor

Long Jump

Performance Place Date
2009/10 6.87 Fayetteville, AR (USA) 12 MAR 2010
2007/08 6.68 Fayetteville, AR (USA) 14 MAR 2008

Indoor

Triple Jump

Performance Place Date
2009/10 13.55 Houston, TX (USA) 26 FEB 2010
2007/08 13.64 Fayetteville, AR (USA) 16 FEB 2008

Honours - Olympic Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. Long Jump 6.91 +0.1 Beijing (CHN) 22 AUG 2008
4. 4x100 Metres Relay 42.64 London (GBR) 10 AUG 2012
8. 4x100 Metres Relay 43.21 Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 19 AUG 2016
8. 100 Metres 11.01 +1.5 London (GBR) 04 AUG 2012

Honours - World Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. Long Jump 6.99 +0.2 Moskva (RUS) 11 AUG 2013
3. 200 Metres 22.32 -0.3 Moskva (RUS) 16 AUG 2013
5. 100 Metres 11.12 -1.4 Daegu (KOR) 29 AUG 2011
6. 100 Metres 11.04 -0.3 Moskva (RUS) 12 AUG 2013
6. 4x100 Metres Relay 42.93 Daegu (KOR) 04 SEP 2011
8. Long Jump 6.55 +0.2 London (GBR) 11 AUG 2017
8. 100 Metres 11.02 -0.3 Beijing (CHN) 24 AUG 2015

Honours - IAAF World Relays

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 4x200 Metres Relay 1:30.52 Nassau (BAH) 02 MAY 2015

Honours - World (Continental) Cup

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
3. 100 Metres 11.14 +1.4 Split (CRO) 04 SEP 2010
3. 4x100 Metres Relay 43.88 Split (CRO) 04 SEP 2010
6. Long Jump 6.34 +0.3 Split (CRO) 05 SEP 2010

Honours - African Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 4x100 Metres Relay 43.56 Marrakesh (MAR) 12 AUG 2014
1. 100 Metres 11.00 -1.4 Marrakesh (MAR) 11 AUG 2014
1. Long Jump 6.96 +1.7 Porto Novo (BEN) 29 JUN 2012
1. Long Jump 6.62 -2.9 Nairobi (KEN) 30 JUL 2010
1. 4x100 Metres Relay 43.45 Nairobi (KEN) 30 JUL 2010
1. 100 Metres 11.03 +1.8 Nairobi (KEN) 29 JUL 2010
2. 100 Metres 11.18 -0.8 Porto Novo (BEN) 28 JUN 2012

Honours - All-African Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 4x100 Metres Relay 43.10 Brazzaville (CGO) 15 SEP 2015
1. Long Jump 6.50 +2.3 Maputo (MOZ) 14 SEP 2011
2. 100 Metres 11.01 +2.5 Maputo (MOZ) 12 SEP 2011
2. Long Jump 6.46 +1.8 Algiers (ALG) 21 JUL 2007
4. Triple Jump 13.77 +0.9 Algiers (ALG) 18 JUL 2007

Honours - Diamond League

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 100 Metres 10.98 +0.9 Shanghai (CHN) 17 MAY 2015
1. 200 Metres 22.32 +0.4 Paris (FRA) 05 JUL 2014
1. 200 Metres 22.36 0.0 Shanghai (CHN) 18 MAY 2014
1. Long Jump 6.86 +0.1 Shanghai (CHN) 18 MAY 2014
1. 100 Metres 10.79 +1.1 London (GBR) 27 JUL 2013
1. Long Jump 7.04 +2.1 Monaco (MON) 19 JUL 2013
1. Long Jump 6.98 +1.1 Lausanne (SUI) 04 JUL 2013
1. 200 Metres 22.55 +0.9 Birmingham (GBR) 30 JUN 2013
1. 100 Metres 10.96 0.0 Monaco (MON) 20 JUL 2012
1. 100 Metres 11.01 -0.2 London (GBR) 14 JUL 2012

Honours - Commonwealth Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 200 Metres 22.25 +0.4 Glasgow (GBR) 31 JUL 2014
1. 100 Metres 10.85 +0.3 Glasgow (GBR) 28 JUL 2014
2. 4x100 Metres Relay 42.92 Glasgow (GBR) 02 AUG 2014
3. 4x100 Metres Relay 42.75 Gold Coast (AUS) 14 APR 2018

Honours - National Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 200 Metres 22.77 +0.4 Sapele (NGR) 08 JUL 2016
1. 100 Metres 11.02 +0.3 Sapele (NGR) 07 JUL 2016
1. 200 Metres 22.62 -1.2 Calabar (NGR) 21 JUN 2014
1. 100 Metres 11.06 -1.0 Calabar (NGR) 19 JUN 2014
1. 200 Metres 22.65 -0.7 Calabar (NGR) 21 JUN 2013
1. Long Jump 6.68 +0.4 Calabar (NGR) 21 JUN 2013
1. 100 Metres 11.25 -2.5 Calabar (NGR) 19 JUN 2013
1. Long Jump 6.97 +0.3 Calabar (NGR) 23 JUN 2012
1. 100 Metres 11.12 -0.3 Calabar (NGR) 21 JUN 2012
1. Long Jump 6.78 +1.5 Calabar (NGR) 25 JUN 2011
1. 100 Metres 11.22 +0.9 Calabar (NGR) 23 JUN 2011
1. 100 Metres 11.06 -0.3 Calabar (NGR) 25 JUN 2010
1. 100 Metres 11.16 -0.1 Abuja (NGR) 24 JUL 2009
1. Long Jump 6.73 +0.2 Abuja (NGR) 24 JUL 2009
1. Triple Jump 14.07 Abuja (NGR) 03 JUL 2008
1. Long Jump 6.86 Abuja (NGR) 02 JUL 2008
1. Triple Jump 14.13 +2.0 Lagos (NGR) 19 MAY 2007
1. Long Jump 6.50 +1.5 Lagos (NGR) 18 MAY 2007

Honours - NCAA Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. Long Jump 6.79 +0.8 Eugene, OR (USA) 12 JUN 2010
1. 100 Metres 10.98 +2.8 Eugene, OR (USA) 11 JUN 2010
Results in:

100 Metres

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result Wind
31 MAR 2018 Austin Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays USAUSA D F 1. 10.72 +2.7
04 MAY 2018 Doha IAAF Diamond League QATQAT GW F 2. 10.90 +1.5
26 MAY 2018 Eugene Prefontaine Classic USAUSA GW F 7. 11.07 +1.9
07 JUN 2018 Oslo Bislett Games NORNOR GW F 4. 11.12 +1.6
10 JUN 2018 Stockholm BAUHAUS-galan SWESWE GW F 5. 11.29 -0.1
05 JUL 2018 Lausanne Athletissima SUISUI GW F DNS +1.3
20 JUL 2018 Monaco Herculis MONMON GW F 8. 11.32 +0.1
30 AUG 2018 Zürich Weltklasse SUISUI DF F DQ -0.5
04 SEP 2018 Zagreb IWC 2018 CROCRO A F 6. 11.47 +0.5

200 Metres

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result Wind
24 MAR 2018 Abilene Wes Kittley Invitational USAUSA F F1 1. 22.04 +0.5
27 APR 2018 Lubbock Crofoot Shootout USAUSA F F 1. 22.43 +1.2
19 MAY 2018 Kingston Jamaica International Invitational JAMJAM A F 2. 22.66 +0.4
03 JUN 2018 Hengelo FBK Games NEDNED A F 6. 23.03 +0.1
13 JUL 2018 Rabat Meeting International Mohammed VI D'Athletisme MARMAR GW F 7. 23.42 -0.5

4x100 Metres Relay

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
14 APR 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games AUSAUS A F 3. 42.75
08 SEP 2018 Ostrava IAAF Continental Cup CZECZE GW F1 DQ


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Updated  06 August 2013

Blessing OKAGBARE, Nigeria (60m/100m/Long Jump/Triple Jump)

Born: October 9, 1988, Sapele, Delta State

Lives: El Paso, Texas, USA

1.80m / 60kg

Coach: John Smith

Manager: Paul Doyle (Doyle Management Group)

 

When Blessing Okagbare left the shores of Nigeria to study at the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP), she had little clue what awaits her in the United States. But three years down the line she stands on the cusps of being Africa's best. At UTEP, Okagbare has found a new and fertile ground to explore. Over the last few years, one of the world's best jumpers has turned herself into one of the world's best sprinters.

But, Blessing has always seen things differently. Being a staunch Christian, she held strong beliefs she could do all things and all things are possible if you believe and try. Okagbare also wants to be remembered as one of the great female athletes in sports. “I know God has blessed me with talent in track and I want to put it to good use, she said. ”I want to be one of the best athletes out there.  I am not done with school yet, I still have to get my business degree, keep doing track and if I can make some money doing it then I would like to own my own business someday.”

Most observers of the 24-year-old meteoric rise up the world sprinting ladder would find it hard to believe she came into the sport by accident and only started sprinting in 2009.

“I grew up in Sapele (in the Niger Delta area) as a normal kid and it gave me a lot of challenges in life. I was forced to change primary schools from the Association Primary School to another school - Okotie Primary School II - because my first school was cancelled,” she said.  “Actually, I used to play soccer for my high school sometimes and later on fell in love doing track.  A coach/lecturer from my elder sister's high school talked me into doing sports but before then, people always say I look athletic and they just believe I can do sports and later I also got motivated by my friends and family.”

Okagbare says she started jumping in 2004. “I actually was not a long jumper back then, I was a triple jumper. I won a gold medal in long jump and bronze medal in high jump as a Junior athlete for Delta State at the 2004 National Secondary Schools Games in Owerri, Imo State and later that year I attended the 14th National Sports Festival held in Abuja and won a bronze doing the triple jump.” This marked a turning point for Okagbare as she went on to represent Nigeria at the 2006 World Junior Athletics Championships in Beijing, China, but did not make it past the qualifying round.

In May 2007, Okagbare announced her arrival on the national stage with a bang - at the All-Africa Games trials in Lagos. “The first year I competed at the Mobil trials was in 2007 where I won both long and triple jump setting a new national record of 14.13 metres in the triple jump,” she said. Later in July, 2007, at the All-Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria , she won the silver medal in the long jump (6.46m [+1.8] ) and finished fourth (13.77m) in the triple jump. Compatriot Chinonye Ohadugba, who took silver at the event also bettered Okagbare's national record with a 14.21 metres (-0.1) jump.

So, what motivated her to take up the UTEP's scholarship? “As much as I love track and field, I also want to get a degree in Business so when I had the offer I took it because it will be a great opportunity for me to get that degree and also do track more effectively,” Okagbare reaffirms. And does she feel homesick sometimes? “I do, but I really want to get better at what I am doing and so I got to be where I can achieve that. Here in El-Paso I can achieve my goals,” she says as a matter of fact. “Believe me, I would not have come this far if I had remained in Nigeria. It is not as if I’m trying to talk against my country, but it lacks the right facilities and these things limit us.”

At the Beijing Olympic Games 2008, Okagbare, who was only competing because Ukrainian finalist Lyudmila Blonska was thrown out for doping, won a bronze medal in the Women's Long Jump with a personal best jump of 6.91 metres behind Maureen Higa Maggi of Brazil and Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia. "It's the biggest moment of my life. Everything was a big miracle," said Okagbare at the time.

On her making the transition to running the sprints in 2009, Okagbare puts that to good coaching and hard work. It was a light-hearted suggestion by her jump coach, Kebba Tolbert to try some sprinting and after posting 11.21 seconds in her first competitive 100 metres race at a track meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she never looked back. “Running the sprint is just one of the surprises for me and I’m putting my talent to work, she says. “For you to be a really good long jumper, you sure need some speed and I worked on getting that speed so, I decided to bring it to the track instead of jumping with it alone. I also see myself doing both if not also adding the 200 metres.”

In July 2009, she won the 100 metres at the Nigeria/Mobil Track and Field Championships with a time of 11.16 seconds, beating favourite and defending champion, Oludamola Osayomi to the national title. She then got injured and had a rather disappointing time at the Berlin World Championships, as she was unable to start though she was entered in the 100m and long jump.

In February 2010, after a one-year hiatus from Collegiate indoor competitions, Okagbare won the US national Indoor titles in the 60 metres and long jump and grabbed top honours in the long jump whilst also breaking the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Championships meet record twice.

Three months later, Okagbare, added NCAA crowns during the outdoor season in the 100 metres and long jump, becoming the first in collegiate history to pull off such a feat. She was undefeated in all sprint and jump finals during the season and drew the curtain on her collegiate career with four national titles, 11 All-America honours and 15 Conference USA championships in 2010.

University of Texas, El Paso's retiring head coach, Bob Kitchens described her as “unique". "No doubt, she is the best woman's athlete I've ever been around my entire coaching career." There's nothing mediocre about her," said Kitchens.

Okagbare was named the 2010 Conference USA Female Athlete of the Year, awarded the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Track Athlete and Mountain Region Field Athlete of the Year during the indoor season, the Mountain Region Track Athlete of the Year for the outdoor season and was a finalist at the Honda award. “It really means a lot to me simply for the fact that I am not an American and for them to award that to me means so much to me,” said Okagbare.

In June, Okagbare signed her first professional contract with the Doyle Management Group and had been nominated as one of three finalists for The Bowerman - the highest honour given to collegiate track and field student-athletes by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The award winners will be announced at the USTFCCCA Convention on 15 December 2010 in San Antonio, Texas.

In July 2010, Okagbare made her Diamond League debut in Eugene, setting a PB over 100m (11.03) before heading to Europe, where she first improved her 200m PB to 22.71 in Lignano (18 July) and then clocked 11.10 in Monaco (22 July), confirming her good shape before heading to Nairobi for the 17th African Athletics Championships.

 

After arriving in Nairobi as the new face of African sprinting, Okagbare did not disappoint, carting away three gold medals in the 100m, Long Jump and the 4x100m relay whilst erasing the previous Africa 100m Championship record of 11.05 in the process. Her 11.03 clocking also equalled her personal best set earlier in July. 

 

The two gold medals she won on the third day of competition, within a span of five minutes, were more spectacular. Leading the Long Jump competition with her first jump of 6.55 metres, she passed her 3rd and 4th rounds to anchor the Nigerian women's 4x100m relay team to the gold and Championship record of 43.45, then rejoined the competition to win the women's long Jump with a leap of 6.62 metres in her penultimate jump.

After the African Championships in Nairobi, Okagbare improved her 100m PB to 11.00 seconds, beating American 2009 World Championships bronze medallist Carmelita Jeter in the heats, but eventually finished third in the final in 11.10, at the Aviva London Grand Prix in Crystal Palace on 14 August. She then placed sixth in 11.19 at the Weltklasse Diamond League in Zürich on 19 August and also posted 11.27 at the ISTAF in Berlin on 22 August.

Okagbare represented Africa at the Continental Cup in Split, Croatia, in September 2010, where she placed third in the 100m in 11.14 and sixth in the Long Jump with a leap of 6.34 metres. After that, citing tiredness and a long season, she declined to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India in October, opting instead to undergo surgery to repair a stress fracture to her tibia.

The 23-year-old kicked off her 2011 season at the Samsung Diamond League Meeting in Doha, Qatar, on 6 May, finishing fourth in the 200m in 23.19 and a week later, on 15 May, came third in 100m in 11.23 at the Shanghai Samsung Diamond League in China. She then ran her season's best of 11.08 whilst placing seventh at the Eugene Prefontaine Classic, in Oregon, USA on 4 June.  At the adidas Grand Prix in New York on 11 June, she opened her long jump account in bad weather conditions with 5.86m. Two weeks later she jumped a season's best 6.78m to win the All-Nigeria championships in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, and also won the 100m in 11.22.

Okagbare rounded up her preparations for the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Korea and the 2011 All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique with a 6.42m leap in the long jump at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Birmingham on 10 July and on 6 August ran 11.25 whilst finishing fifth in the 100m at the Aviva London Grand Prix in Crystal Palace.

Still coming back to form after her surgery, she had a decent outing in Daegu, finishing fifth in 100m (11.12) after failing to make the long jump finals. In Maputo, she took home three medals: Gold medals in her favourite long jump in a windy 6.50m; another as part of the Nigerian women 4x100m relay team and a silver in 100m, also a windy 11.01.

The year 2012 marked a complete transformation in Okagbare's life. Fresh from graduating from University of Texas, El Paso, she faced the difficulty of having to move from her comfort zone and adjust to the demands and rigours of being a full-time professional athlete for the first time.

She eventually made the hard decision to leave the only town she had known since coming over from Nigeria and her coach at UTEP and moved to California to join up with the Nike camp in LA. “I’ve had three coaches in four years. There's been a few changes in my life, but I’ve been able to deal with it,” she stated at the time. “John Smith is a very good coach. I’m not saying other coaches I’ve worked with are not good, but I really think we can work together as coach and athlete. I want to get better, that’s my goal. When I went down to see what he does, I was pleased with what I saw.”

That decision was rewarded with instant success and her newly found confidence from training with the likes of World Champion, Carmelita Jeter, showed when she landed on the circuit. She opened her Diamond League season in Doha on 11 May, placing 4th in 100m in 11.01, followed by a 2nd place finish in 11.21 at the Daegu Colorful meeting on 16 May. Three days later, she ran a windy 22.71 for 200m and jumped 6.64m in Shanghai on 19 May. Two solid performances in June, first at the Preclassic in Eugene, where she posted a 22.63 PB in 200m on 2 June and a week later, an 11.10 clocking at the adidas Grand Prix in New York, set her on her way to the Nigerian Olympic Trials, in Calabar, where she won the 100m in 11.12 and set a PB of 6.97m in the long jump.

Even after suffering a shock defeat over 100m to Gabon's Ruddy Zang Milama at the African Championships in Porto-Novo on 28 June, her spirit was not dampened, and she leapt to a Championships Record 6.96m a day later. Her confidence restored, she dipped under 11 seconds twice in July, to record victories at both the London and Monaco Samsung Diamond League meets. First a PB of 10.99 in the heats at Crystal Palace before overhauling a packed field that included reigning World champion Carmelita Jeter with an 11.01 victory in the final. A week later, she lowered her PB further to 10.96 seconds to win the Monaco Samsung Diamond League, taking huge scalps on the way.

Okagbare performances at the London 2012 Olympics Games was a mixed bag of results. She opened with a lifetime best time of 10.93 to win her 100m 1st round heat, lowered it to 10.92 to win her semi-final and yet collapsed to eight place with 11.01 in the final. In her strongest event, Long Jump, she was visibly distraught as she placed 16th overall, missing the cut to the final with a best of 6.34m (- 1.1) after 3 qualification attempt from Group A pool. Yet, she still anchored the Nigerian 4x100m women to an impressive 4th place (42.64) in the final. At her best, Okagbare is one of the best female sprinters out there. But her inconsistency at the London Olympics drew a lot of negative publicity for her from her many disappointed fans and public in Nigeria.

Okagbare started the 2013 season with a bang setting a world lead in the 200m with a 22.31 (+1.3) clocking on 20 April in Walnut, USA. A few weeks later, she kicked off her Diamond League season with a 6.92m and a windy 7.14m long jump in Doha on 10 May. She transferred this form to the 100m, placing second, in Shanghai (11.00) on 18 May and winning at the Beijing IAAF World Challenge meet in 11.04 three days later before heading back to Oregon where she finished second in a windy 10.75 at the Eugene Prefontaine Classics on 1 June.

At the Nigerian championships held from 19-21 June in Calabar, Okagbare won the 100m, 200m and the long jump titles in 11.25, 22.65 and 6.68m respectively. Her return to the Diamond League saw victories in the 200m at the Birmingham Grand Prix (22.55) on 30 June and in the long jump at the Lausanne Athletissima (6.98m) on 4 July. Two days later, at the Meeting Areva in Paris, she ran a personal best of 10.93 to finish second in the 100m.

Okagbare had soared around 6.85m – 6.98m all-season in the long jump and has shown a consistent streak that eluded her in 2012. Finally, at the Herculis Meeting - Diamond League in Monaco on 19 July, she produced a wind-assisted 7.04m (2.1m/s) in round two and then a lifetime best legal jump of 7.00m (0.0m/s) in the third round.

Her performance at the London Anniversary Games on 27 July, where she produced a series of sub-10.9 performances to smash the long standing African record with 10.86 in the Heats and later a stunning 10.79 in the final, showed her maturity and improving confidence in her own ability. "I just wanted to put up a good race and I'm so excited,” she says after the race indicating lessons learnt from her London travails last year. “For me, I just wanted to do my best and I've been working hard and have tried to stay on top of my recovery. I'm hoping when it comes to Moscow that I'll be ready."

Okagbare will arrive in the Russian capital sitting on top of the Diamond League rankings for the Long Jump and in the second spot in the 100m, And yet again, she will carry all the hopes and aspirations of over 160 million Nigerians for a medal on her elegant shoulders. Now, after serving a taster of what could be, the nation, and indeed the continent, waits with bated breath for the new Queen of African sprinting to deliver in Moscow.

Personal Bests

Outdoors

100m: 10.79 (2013)

200m:  22.31 (2013)

Long Jump: 7.00 (2013)

Triple Jump: 14.13 (2007)

Indoors

60m:  7.18 (2010)

200m:  23.52 (2010)

Long Jump: 6.87 (2010)

Triple Jump: 13.64 (2008)

Yearly Progression

100m/200m: 2008: 23.76; 2009: 11.16/-; 2010: 11.00 (10.98w)/22.71(23.52i); 2011: 11.08/22.94; 2012: 10.96/22.63; 2013: 10.79 (AR) (10.75w)/22.31

Long Jump: 2006: 6.16; 2007: 6.51; 2008: 6.91(6.68i); 2009: 6.73, 2010: 6.88 (6.87i); 2011: 6.78 (6.84w); 2012: 6.97;  2013: 7.00 (7.14w)

Triple Jump: 2006: 13.38; 2007: 14.13 (AJR); 2008: 14.07 (13.64i); 2009: 13.59; 2010: (13.55i); 2011: -; 2012: -; 2013: -


Career Highlights

2006:  6 q        IAAF World Junior Championships (Beijing)  (Long Jump)      5.97

2006:  8 q        IAAF World Junior Championships (Beijing)   (Triple Jump)    12.81

2007    1st           Nigeria Track and Field Champs (Lagos)    (Long Jump)     6.50

2007    1st           Nigeria Track and Field Champs (Lagos)    (Triple Jump)    14.13(AJR)

2007    4th        All-Africa Games (Algiers)   (Triple Jump)    13.77

2007    2nd       All-Africa Games (Algiers)    (Long Jump)     6.46

2008    2nd         NCAA Indoor Championships (Fayetteville, AR)  (Long Jump)   6.68i

2008    3rd          NCAA Outdoor Championships (Des Moines, IA)   (Long Jump)    6.59

2008    2nd       NCAA Outdoor Championships (Des Moines, IA)   (Triple Jump)   14.01

2008    1st           Nigeria Track and Field Champs (Abuja)   (Long Jump)  6.86

2008    1st           Nigeria Track and Field Champs (Abuja)    (Triple Jump)   14.07

2008    3rd        Olympic Games (Beijing)   (Long Jump)   6.91

2009    1st      Nigeria Track and Field Champs (Abuja)   (100m)   11.16

2009    1st      Nigeria Track and Field Champs (Abuja)    (Long Jump)   6.73

2010    1st          NCAA Indoor Championships (Fayetteville, AR)  (60m)   7.18i

2010    1st          NCAA Indoor Championships (Fayetteville, AR)  (Long Jump)   6.87i

2010    1st         NCAA Outdoor Championships (Eugene, OR)   (100m)  10.98w

2010    1st         NCAA Outdoor Championships (Eugene, OR)   (Long Jump)    6.79

2010    1st        Nigeria Track & Field Champs (Calabar)  (100m)  11.06

2010    1st        Africa Athletics Championships (Nairobi)  (100m)   11.03 (CR)

2010    1st        Africa Athletics Championships (Nairobi)   (Long Jump)    6.62

2010    1st        Africa Athletics Championships (Nairobi)   (4X100m)   43.45 (CR)

2010    3rd        IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup (Split)   (100m)   11.14

2010    6th        IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup (Split) (Long Jump)  6.34

2011    1st        Nigeria Track & Field Champs (Calabar)  (100m)   11.22 (11.20 sf)

2011    1st        Nigeria Track & Field Champs (Calabar)   (Long Jump)  6.78

2011    5th        IAAF World Championships (Daegu)   (100m)    11.12

2011    q          IAAF World Championships (Daegu)    (Long Jump)   6.36

2011    2nd       All Africa Games (Maputo)    (100m)      11.01w

2011    1st        All Africa Games (Maputo)  ( Long Jump)   6.50w

2011    1st        All Africa Games (Maputo)    (4x100m)    43.34

2012    1st        Nigeria Track & Field Champs (Calabar)  (100m)   11.12

2012    1st        Nigeria Track & Field Champs (Calabar)   (Long Jump)  6.97

2012    1st        African Athletics Champs (Porto-Novo)   (Long Jump)  6.96 (CR)

2012    2nd       African Athletics Champs (Porto-Novo)  (100m)    11.18

2012    8th        Olympic Games (London)  (100m)    11.01 (10.92 SF)

2012    q          Olympic Games (London)  (Long Jump)  6.34

2012    4th        Olympic Games (London)    (4x100m) 42.64

2013    1st        Nigeria Track & Field Champs (Calabar)   (100m)   11.25

2013    1st        Nigeria Track & Field Champs (Calabar)    (200m)   22.65

2013    1st        Nigeria Track & Field Champs (Calabar)   (Long Jump) 6.68

2013    1st        Sainsbury Anniversary Games (London)   (100m) 10.79 (AR)

Prepared by Yomi Omogbeja for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2010-2013


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