9 August 2017

Nigeria: Brume, Okagbare Begin Medal Chase in Long Jump

Photo: Premium Times
Blessing Okagbare.

As the World Athletics Championship enters its sixth day, attention of many sports-loving Nigerians will be focused on two athletes, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and Ese Brume in the long jump event today.

The Cyprus-based Brume, with a personal best jump of 6.83m and season best of 6.64m is in Group A, while Okagbare is in Group B.

Although the duo failed to meet the 6.75m qualification standard set for the long jump event in the 2017 IAAF Championship, Brume had declared before jetting out from Lagos a few days ago that anything could happen in London.

"I am going to London to do my best for the country and I am optimistic of returning home with a good result," the Commonwealth and African champion told The Guardian in a telephone chat.

Reigning Nigerian sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor leapt a rather pedestrian 6.48m at the Oslo Diamond League meeting to book her qualification to London.

Having failed to make it to the final of the 100m race, Okagbare is expected to use the long jump to put smiles on the faces of her family members and fans back home.

It is her fourth competitive appearance at the championships, and anything short of a podium performance will not be good for Okagbare.

The Nigerians must find a way to outplace USA's duo of Brittney Reese and Tianna Bartoletta, as well as Ivana Spanovic of Serbia (7.24m) and Shara Proctor of Great Britain.

Okagbare won a silver medal in the event at the 14th edition of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia in 2013. With her personal best of 7.00m and season best of 6.77m, many believe that Okagbare's chances of making a podium appearance are high in ‎the long jump rather than in the sprints.

Some other events lined up for today include the final of women's 400m, where all three Nigerians, Patience Okon-George, Yinka Ajayi and Margaret Bamgbose failed to make it beyond the semifinals.

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