African 200m record holder (22.04), Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, will be back on the IAAF Diamond League train when it makes its sixth of 14 stops on Sunday at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco for the Meeting International Mohammed VI of Athletics.
It will be Okagbare’s fourth consecutive trip to Rabat since the beautiful city was added to the IAAF Diamond league circuit in 2016 and the Nigerian is yet to climb the podium as champion.
The closest she came to winning was in her debut season (2016) when she ran 11.11 seconds to place second behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson who raced home first in 11.02 seconds over the 100m before going to complete a sprint double at the Rio Olympics later that year.
Okagbare was fourth in 2017 (11.03 seconds) behind Thompson again who ran a blistering 10.87 seconds.
In 2018, a year that has proved to be the elegant and beautifully built Nigerian’s worst on the track since 2010 when she stormed into international limelight with her 100m (10.98) and Long Jump (6.79m) double at the NCAA Division 1 Championships, Okagbare ran 23.42 seconds to place 7th in the half lap race.
On Sunday, the Nigerian will be up against familiar foes in the blue ribband event as she tries to outrun the Flying Dutchwoman, Dafne Schipers, who ran 22.56 seconds in the 200m in Oslo on Thursday and fellow African, Marie-Josee Ta Lou.
Okagbare is the second fastest among the trio coming into the race in Rabat as she holds a personal season’s best of 11.07 seconds she ran to come second behind USA’s 2018 NCAA champion, Aleia Obbs in Shanghai last month.
Schippers is the fastest with the 11.06 seconds she ran to win at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games last Sunday in Hengelo, Netherlands while Ta Lou is coming to Rabat with her 11.14 seconds fourth-place finish last week Thursday at the IAAF Diamond league in Rome.