For the first time in seven years former African sprint queen Blessing Okagbare will likely be missing at the 43rd Prefontaine Classics IAAF Diamond League meeting scheduled for next weekend at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
The Nigerian is not in the provisional list of athletes released by the organisers for the 100m event which has some world-class stars including reigning World and Olympic 100m and 200m champion Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, a strong USA contingent which includes English Gardener, Tianna Bartoletta, former USA junior champion Morolake Akinosun and Dezerea Bryant, a two-time NCAA champion in the 200m.
She is also not in the list of athletes confirmed for the 200m and long jump events.
Okagbare made her debut at the Eugene meeting in 2010, running 11.03 seconds to place fifth in the 100m. Since then she has become a known face at the awesome arena where she ran 22.23 seconds in the 200m in 2014, her personal best which shot her to third in the Nigerian all-time list behind Mary Onyali (22.07) and Falilat Ogunkoya (22.22).
A year earlier she ran 10.75 seconds in the 100m at the arena but with an excessive trail wind of +2.2 mps which rendered the time illegal.
The Nigerian record holder would however legally duck inside 10.80 seconds almost two months later at the Olympic Stadium in London. Her 10.79 seconds clocking on the day was an African record which stood for three years before Ivorian lady Murielle Ahouré ran faster by a hundreth of a second, crossing the line in 10.78 seconds at a meeting in Montverde, Florida, USA on June 11, 2016 to become the new African record holder.
Okagbare holds a personal season’s best of 22.87 seconds in the 200m which she set last April at a meeting in Lubbock,Texas and showed an indifferent form at the opening leg of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha, running 23.15 seconds to place sixth.