Despite not beginning the Diamond League season in Doha, Qatar last week, Blessing Okagbare got her season underway with a win at the 2015 Shanghai Diamond League on Sunday.
Okagbare, who won the long jump and 200m events in Shanghai last year, arrived at a time of 10.98 seconds ahead a star-studded line-up that included Olympic champion, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, and other Jamaicans and Americans.
USA’s Tori Bowie came second after finishing with a personal best of 11.07 secs, Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago, who clocked 11.13 secs,was third, while Veronica Campbell-Brown was fourth with 11.22 secs and Fraser-Pryce finished fifth in 11.25secs.
Sunday’s result was an improvement for Okagbare this season after she finished second in a time of 11.05 secs at the Jamaica International Invitational last week.
With the end of the Shanghai meet on Sunday, the Diamond League series will resume on May 30 in Eugene, USA.
“My race was pretty good,” Okagbare said after the event. “It is not easy to compete with the best of the world – but I won. I focused on my start. Normally I don’t have the best start, but now I was leading from the beginning.”
Fraser-Pryce was not overly concerned with her 11.25 opener.
“It was one of those races,” she said. “I have time to get it right.”
Asked if she would now have her work cut out in defending her title in Beijing later in the year, Fraser-Pryce said, “I always have my work cut out. No one hands anything to you.”
Triple jumper, Tosin Oke, has commended the organisers of the Doha Diamond League. Oke, who went out in the first round at the Doha meet, attributed his performance to rustiness.
He tweeted on Sunday, “The @dldoha was truly world class from the organisation, medical staff through to the competition and performances. It was great to be a part.
“I did my best ever opener in round 1, but did not get to show my worth that day due to being rusty. I am looking forward to the next one.”
In Port Harcourt, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria will take a major step in its plan to develop young talents and also provide a good training environment for star athletes who are based in the country as it commissions a High Performance Centre at the University of Port Harcourt on May 25.
The centre which is equipped with standard facilities also has quality accommodation for athletes. The President of the Confederation of Africa Athletics Hamad Kalkaba Malboum and the AFN president Solomon Ogba are expected to declare the centre open.
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