Africa’s fastest woman, Blessing Okagbare and Nigeria’s only medal hope in the 100m event at the 14th IAAF Championships in Moscow, has failed to re-enact her winning form in the event, bringing back memories of her London Olympics flop.
She came 6th in the final race, won by Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who held nothing back in producing a stunning performance to snatch a second women’s world 100m title on Monday.
There was a first-ever African medal in the world sprints for Ivorian silver medallist Murielle Ahoure (10.93), while defending champion Carmelita Jeter of the United States took bronze (10.94).
Jeter’s teammate, English Gardner (10.97) came fourth, with Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart fifth in a photo finish, the seven-time medallist in worlds and Olympics including a 4x100m relay gold in Berlin in 2009 unable to recover from an awful start.
Okagbare, fresh from silver in Sunday’s long jump, faded badly and finished sixth (11.04) ahead of American duo Alexandria Anderson and Octavious Freeman. Along with Freeman, Okagbare had returned the slowest time of 11.08secs in her semi-final heat. Freeman however recorded a better reaction time of 0.171 as against Okagbare’s 0.181.
Both sprinters however failed to raise their performance in the final round.
The diminutive Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a double Olympic gold medallist and 2009 world champion showed all her big-day experience by making up for a sluggish start with a dynamic drive section that saw her race clear of the field by 30 metres.
The 1.52m-tall (5″0′) Jamaican, whose teammate Usain Bolt won the men’s blue riband event on Sunday, then kept her solid running style through the finish line for an imposing victory in the season’s fastest time of 10.71sec.
The 26-year-old, who served a six-month doping ban herself for testing positive for a narcotic contained, she claimed, in her coach Stephen Francis’ toothache painkillers, did not disappoint.
Her winning time of 10.71sec was just one-hundredth off her best, which ranks as the fourth fastest time ever run, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Jeter and Marion Jones the only three sprinters to have gone faster.
Bronze for Jeter, 33, was bittersweet, as her medalling tied her with Jamaican sprint legend Merlene Ottey’s record of being a four-time world 100m medallist.
“I had my obstacles – I was starting to feel pain under my left butt cheek,” said Fraser-Pryce, whose victory is a massive boost for a Jamaican team hit by doping bans to sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell.
“I am surrounded by great people. I came here and did my best and actually won. It was really hurting but I knew what I worked for.
“I just came out here and I executed my race. I wasn’t focused on anyone else. It was all about execution.”
Ivorian silver medalist Ahoure in her reaction, beamed: “I’m excited to be here as an African woman. It’s such an honour to win a medal for the Ivory Coast.
“It’s good to be an inspiration,” she added.