Former Commonwealth Games double sprint champion, Blessing Okagbare, will not be in action when the 200m event of the 12th African Games begins today in Rabat.
The 2013 IAAF World Championship 200m silver medallist will be running her own 200m event at the Weltklasse IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich, Switzerland, where she will be battling for the $50,000 top prize money on offer and the honour to be called Diamond League champion in the half lap.
Okagbare is one of the eight athletes who have qualified for tonight’s final and she has been drawn in lane eight where she will hope to outrun a number of such top quality athletes as Britain’s Dina Asher Smith, The Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers, reigning 2016 double Olympics sprint champion, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica and Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo.
The tall and beautifully built Nigerian is the second fastest athlete (22.05 seconds) over the distance so far this year behind Thompson who ran 22.00 seconds last June in Kingston, Jamaica.
While Okagbare is away in Zurich, Rosemary Chukwu, will lead Nigeria’s charge for podium appearances in the event. She and the two other Nigerians listed for the event, Ntia-Obong Mercy and AdekunleE Bukola Jasper will be hoping to deny Cote D’Ivoire’s Marie Josee Ta Lou the chance to successfully complete a sprint double for the second time after winning in 2015 in Brazaville, Congo.