Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor’s splendid start to the new athletics season continued yesterday when she crushed a high-quality field, including the world’s fastest woman Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce of Jamaica, in 100m event of the Shanghai Diamond League meeting.
In a field containing six sprinters who have broken 11 seconds, Okagbare-Ighoteguonor’s huge stride over the second 50 metres comfortably held off a late challenge from American Tori Bowie, last year’s world number one, who clocked 11.07. Double Olympic champion, Fraser-Pryce, looked sluggish as she trailed home fifth in 11.25 seconds.
The Shanghai stadium is fast becoming a good hunting ground for the multi-talented Okagbare- Igho, who, 12 months ago, set Meeting Records on winning the 200m and the Long Jump.
“It’s not easy to compete with (the) best of the world but I won. Shanghai loves me, and the track loves me,” Okagbare-Igho said in the mixed zone.
“The first part of the race was the best part. I focused on my start and went well. Normally, I haven’t the best start but now I was leading from the beginning. I hope to compete here next year,” she said.
The victory gives Okagbare- Igho four maximum points in the Diamond Race to Zurich and Brussels, and she presently sits top of the women’s 100m standings.
Prior to Sunday’s Diamond League victory, Okagbare-Ighoteguonor had on May 4 inspired Nigeria to a gold medal win in the women’s 4x200m race of the IAAF World Relays and came second behind home girl Elaine Thompson in the 100m at the May 12 Jamaica International Invitational Meet in Kingston.