Olympics: Okagbare, Nwokocha Qualify For 100m Semi-Finals

by Lekan Sowande.

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For the first time since 2012, two Nigerian athletes will be running in the semifinals of the women’s 100m event after Blessing Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha qualified from their respective heats at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Friday in Tokyo, Japan.

Blessing Okagbare dominated Heat 6, taking her foot off the gas with about 10m left in the race, clocking 11.05s to take the win. Great Britain’s Asha Philip was 2nd and Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither finished third.

The 2014 double commonwealth Gold medallist has been drawn in heat 1 of women’s 100m semifinals, and will be running from lane 5 against the likes of defending Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica and Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith. The top 2 finishers will automatically qualify for the final.

Grace Nwokocha

Grace Nwokocha, who is making her Olympic debut, ran a new Personal Best of 11.00s to finish third in the women’s 100m heats at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, securing automatic qualification to the semi-finals on Saturday.

Nigerian sprinter Grace Nwokocha (L) claimed third spot in the women’s 100m heats at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Drawn in the same heat as double Olympic Champion and Jamaican Sprint star, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Nwokocha did just enough to secure the third spot behind Fraser-Pryce and Swiss sprinter Ajla Del Ponte.

Nwokocha has also moved into fifth in the Nigeria all-time list behind Okagbare (10.79), Glory Alozie (10.90), Mary Onyali (10.97), and Damola Osayomi (10.99).

Grace Nwokocha

Nwokocha has now been drawn in lane 9 of Heat 3 of the 100m semi-finals which will take place by 11:31am on Saturday.

They 20-year-old will be up against Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce for the second time at Tokyo2020, Mujinga Kambundji and Teahna Daniels.