Athletics Federation of Nigeria officials are reeling with shock, following Blessing Okagbare’s decision not to start the women 200m at the IAAF World Championships on-going in Beijing, China. This is against the background of her poor showing in the women 100m where she placed last. Before that race on Monday, Okagbare, had shown signs of distress.
Her coach was seen whispering words of encouragement into her ears. Yesterday, she was warming up for the heats of the 200m, but when the athletes were asked to report to the call room, she was nowhere to be found. “We don’t know for sure what happened to her. Personally, I have tried the lines of the technical officials and there wasn’t any response,” said Olukoyde Thomas the AFN spokesman in Beijing.
Prior to the championships, Okagbare had excluded herself from the national trials in Warri, with an alibi that she was unfit and needed medical attention. She was given a wild card by the AFN. Her name is also missing from the start-list of the long jump event, which starts today.
She won a bronze in the 200m and a silver in the long jump at the 2013 championships in Moscow. “It is sad for the country that we are relying on one athlete. I don’t know what happened to Okagbare in Beijing, we can only hope that it is nothing that will tarnish the image of the country,” said an athletics coach yesterday.
Triple jumper, Tosin Oke is the other Nigerian that saw action yesterday. He jumped 16.74m, which was good enough to see him to the final, and it is a strong field of 17. 00m jumpers.- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com