30th July, 2021
By Victor Okoye
Team Nigeria’s duo of Blessing Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha on Friday qualified for the semifinals of the women’s 100 metres event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Okagbare who is the reigning Nigerian record holder in both the 100m and 200m finished first in her heat in 11.05 seconds to advance.
Okagbare who ran from lane 7 was pitched against British female sensation Asha Philip in heat 6 of the event’s Round 1 who ran 11.31 seconds to finish second.
Bahamian sprinter Tynia Gaither came third in 11.34 seconds, to claim the last qualification spot amongst seven other athletes who also competed in the heat.
Also, it was good news for Nigeria’s home-based sensation, Grace Nwokocha who finished third with a personal best of 11.00 seconds at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.
Nwokocha was pitched against the legendary Jamaican and current world fastest female sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica in heat 5.
The 34-year-old clocked a stunning 10.84 seconds to win the heat, while Ajla Del Ponte of Switzerland finished second with a national record of 10.91 seconds.
Gambian sprinter Gina Bass finished fourth amongst eight other athletes with an impressive national record of 11.12 seconds but unfortunately failed to make it to the next round.
Okagbare is leading a team of 12 Nigerian athletes to compete for honours in the track and field events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.