Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare will be seeking another piece of history as the first Nigerian nay African woman to break 22 seconds when she lines up for the 200m event today at the Stade Louis 11 Stadium in Monaco for the ninth leg of the money-spinning IAAF Diamond League meeting,Tidesports source reports.
The Nigerian has competed in the half lap race thrice this season, starting with an uninspiring 23.14 seconds run at the opening leg of the Diamond League meetings in Doha last May and improved to 22.58 seconds 18 days later at the 2019 Nanjing World Challenge in Nanjing, China.
Okagbare blew away the field late last month at Stanford in California where she ran 22.05 seconds to win the Pre-Fontaine Classics ahead of 2016 double Olympic sprints champion, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica and British wonder, Dina Asher-Smith.
The time is Okagbare’s second fastest after the 22.04 seconds she ran in Abilene,Texas, USA last year March to set a new African record in the event.
Today, the elegant and beautifully built Okagbare will seek to become the first African woman and 29th in the world to break the barrier.
She will be bouyed by her incredible run in Stanford on June 30 and will be pushed by the quality field assembled for the race in Monaco.
Only three athletes have broken 22 seconds amongst the eight that will compete against the Nigerian on Friday and they are led by Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers (21.63). Others are Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo (21.88) and Thompson (21.66).
Okagbare is joint third with 14 points in the 200m Diamond League standing and victory on Friday will ensure she qualifies for the final of the event on August 29 at the Weltklasse Diamond League meeting in Zurich.
The Herculis EBS has been a favourable hunting ground for the 2013 IAAF World Championships double medallist after winning in 2012 and 2013.
She ran 10.96 seconds, then a personal best to win the 100m event in 2012 and made a big leap at the long jump pit the following year, jumping a wind aided 7.04m (a trail wind of +2.1mps) to win the event. Interestingly, Okagbare set her personal best of 7.00m in the event with her third round leap, just a few minutes after her wind-aided effort was rendered illegal.
She was disappointing last year at the meeting after running 11.32 seconds in the 100m to come last.It was her worst performance in Monaco and she will look to make up for it today with a historic run.
Infantino Reveals How Nigeria Can Host FIFA Competitions
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino last Thursday, in Abuja, revealed how Nigeria can be made a destination for top Grade A football matches and FIFA competitions.
Infantino gave the insight when the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare took him on a tour of the renovated main bowl of the MoshoodAbiola National Stadium.
The FIFA boss, who was visibly happy with the re-grassed pitch at the stadium, said well-maintained stadia with good pitches were key to hosting grade A matches.
He said FIFA was ready to work more closely with Nigeria to develop the game and host more grade A matches in the country.
“We (FIFA) have to make sure when a country, when a government with the President, the minister and private persons are investing in football, in stadia, we work with them to give something back.
“It’s obvious that stadiums like this (MoshoodAbiola stadium) and others in Nigeria deserve the best quality games.
“They deserve top national team games, top club games and it’s not just about Nigerian football or African football, it’s about global football.
“We are working together to see what kind of new opportunities, competitions we can bring for men and women to fill this stadium and make the heart of the stadium beat for the fantastic spectacle that all of the Nigerian love, which is football,” he said.
Earlier, the minister said the Federal Government will continue to invest in sports development and facilities.
Tidesports source reports that the FIFA President, in the company of the minister, had earlier visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Statehouse, as part of his engagement.
Why NFF Must Offset Rohr’s Salaries, Bonuses – Aikhomogbe
Former Nigerian goal keeper, Andrew Aikhomogbe has called on the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to resolve every outstanding salaries and bonuses owed to the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr before the next World Cup qualifiers against Central Africa Republic (CAR).
Aikhomogbe made this known on the backdrop of the football body’s recent deal with Baba Ijebu.
Although the financial details of the deal was not disclosed, Aikhomogbe in an interview with Newsmen from his base in Cairo, Egypt, stated that the NFF should use this platform to offset Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“It’s a big delight to know that the Nigeria Football Federation have signed a deal with Baba Ijebu and this will serve as an opportunity for them to use part of the money to pay Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“There is no better time to motivate him than now before Nigeria’s next 2022 World Cup qualifiers against the Central Africa Republic (CAR) on October,” he said.
Enyimba Players Vow To Support Finidi
Enyimba FC Goalkeeper, John Noble has stated that the players of the People’s Elephants will be key to the success of the newly appointed coach of the team, Finidi George.
Finidi, signed a two-year deal with Enyimba and oversaw his first full training session with the team on Thursday after a cameo appearance on Wednesday.
Speaking in a chat with Tidesports source, Noble gave his assessment of the coach in his first session under the manager and believes the former Super Eagles winger has what it takes to lead the team to the next level.
He added that the Enyimba players will be the ones to hand Finidi George his success at the club.
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