Blessing Okagbare’s form in the 2013 athletic season has earned her plaudit from former Olympics women’s long jump champion and continental record holder, Chioma Ajunwa, as the multi-talented athlete has had much improvement from the disappointments of last year- including the London Olympic Games.
Ajunwa, who presently holds the African long jump record with her 7.12m jump at the 1996 Atlanta Games, has predicted that the Delta-born athlete could smash her African records (both long jump and 100m) at next month’s World Championships in Moscow.
Okagbare jumped 6.98m at the Lousanne (Switzerland) phase of the IAAF Diamond League meeting and completed the women’s 100 meter race in 10.75 sec to emerge runner- up, behind London Olympic gold medalist Shelly- Ann Fraiser- Pryce in Oregon in June, both feats wind assisted.
“From all indications Okagbare can take both records at the World Championships, if she puts her mind into it,” the policewoman Ajunwa said.
“Depending on her frame of mind and what she wants to achieve, I have a feeling she will put her name in the records book. I did it during my time and even now Okagbare has height advantage, she is taller and has greater speed.
“It all boils down to technique,” Ajunwa added. “And if she comes up with a good plan she can make it in the long jump, it takes only one crazy jump to do the magic.”
Being Nigeria’s only realistic title hope at the moment could be a herculean task, Ajunwa also advised the Beijing Olympic bronze medalist to keep her head down and not get distracted by the huge expectation.