21 May 2012

Nigeria: Okagbare Impressive in Shanghai

Blessing Okagbare at the weekend missed winning her first Samsung Diamond League long jump gold as American Janay DeLoach lept 6.73m to snatch victory in Shanghai, China. She settled for the silver in 6.64m. Shanghai is the second of 14 Samsung Diamond League meetings.

The Beijing Olympic bronze medallist led for most of the competition only to be denied in the final round by DeLoach. Another Nigerian now competing for USA, Funmi Jimoh (6.53) was third.

In the 200m, Okagbare (22.71) placed third behind Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown (22.50) and Carmelita Jeter (22.62) of the USA.

Campbell-Brown, who won here over 100m at the World Championships in Daegu last year, had the more difficult task since she was up against a battling Jeter. The race was virtually a re-run of the worlds as Jeter pressed hard only for the Jamaican to show impressive strength while the American faltered in the final few metres.

On a night when the weather promised little, there was plenty to enthuse about with seven meeting records, four world leads and two national records.

But the night belonged to Liu Xiang, who in the final event of the programme, flew over the hurdles to rapturous applause, catapulting himself into the favourite's berth for the Olympics later this summer with a superb clocking of 12.97.

The time is Liu's fastest for five seasons and will send shudders through the opposition, three of whom were present in Shanghai.

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