Blessing Okagbare breaks 22-year African record
Nigerian athlete Blessing Okagbare is back with a bang. The runner has set a new African record for 200 metres race.
Blessing Okagbare on Saturday started her outdoor season with an impressive 22.04secs in her 200m race at the Wes Kittley Invitational Track and Field Meet at the Abilene Christian University, which erased the 22-year-old previous African record of 22.07secs set by Mary Onyali at a Meet in Switzerland in 1996.
Cierra White followed in second place in 23.26secs while Natasha McDonald settled for third in 24.23secs.
Apart from becoming the new African record, Blessing Okagbare’s winning time also becomes the new national record in the women’s 200m.
Blessing Okagbare had a previous personal best in the event which was 22.23secs and this was set at the 2014 Eugene Diamond League.
But today, she has set another record. With her latest exploit, it means that Blessing Okagbare now holds the Nigerian records in the women’s 100m (10.79secs) and 200m. Okagbare did not compete in the indoor season, which started in January.
The Wes Kittley Invitational was her first competition of the season.
Blessing Okagbare was born in Sapele, Delta State, in Nigeria. Given her athletic physique, teachers and family encouraged her to take up sports.
Initially she played football as a teenager at her high school and later, in 2004, she began to take an interest in track and field.
Wanting desperately to achieve her dreams, Blessing Okagbare participated in a number of disciplines early on, competing in the long jump, triple jump and high jump events at the Nigerian school championships and winning a medal in each.
On the senior national stage, she was a triple jump bronze medallist at the 2004 Nigerian National Sports Festival.
But Blessing Okagbare’s first international outing came at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Athletics, where she performed in the qualifying rounds of both the long and triple jump competitions.
In May 2007, at the All-Africa Games trials in Lagos, she established a Nigerian record of 14.13 metres in the triple jump.
At the 2007 All Africa Games, she won the silver medal in the long jump and finished fourth in the triple jump.
There’s no stopping Blessing Okagbare and we are solidly cheering her on.