The Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, has described the new African women’s 100m record holder, Blessing Okagbare, as a real blessing to Nigeria’s track & field.
Nesiama who at the weekend expressed his happiness over the new record and the prospect of a good outing for Team Nigeria at the World Championships in Moscow, Russia next month, however insisted that Okagbare and the AFN need the support of corporate Nigeria.
Okagbare had eclipsed the 10.90 seconds African record held by former Nigerian hurdler, Gloria Alozie to post a new record of 10.79 secs in the short sprint.
``I am appealing to Nigerians to rally round Okagbare. She is doing not only herself proud but the country as well. She is indeed a blessing.
``We need help from corporate organisations. They should come to the aid of athletics because we have good programmes but without money, we cannot progress,’’ Nesiama said.
Okagbare defeated American Barbara Pierre to the second spot in a time of 10.85secs while Kelly Ann-Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago placed third in 10.93secs. Reigning London Olympic champion, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce was fourth in 10.94 secs.
Nesiama further noted that without funds, the AFN’s plan for `Rio 2016’ might not be achieved.
``I am happy that she keeps proving her mettle. She is good and I know that with good psychology, she will be among the world’s best,’’ he said.
He also said that with such records being achieved by the senior team and personal best by some of the juniors, Nigerians could set the benchmark for future international meets.
Meanwhile, more Nigerian track & field coaches have continued to react to the new African record in the by Okagbare.
A sprint coach, Isaac Osagie, commended her for the performance, stressing that she made Nigeria and Africa proud at the London 2012 anniversary meet.
Osagie said: `` It is a good sign for her level of preparedness for the world championship next month.
``I expect her to begin to focus more on training to win big at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow,’’ observed the coach.
Also speaking, another athletics coach, Sule Oladimeji, said he saw Okagbare’s good race coming.
``She has done what she could not do at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
``Looking at her performance since inception of the season I have observed some improvements.
``I hope Okagbare will outrun her counterparts at the World Championships to give Nigeria her first ever IAAF World Championships gold medal in Moscow.
The 14th IAAF World Championships tagged, ``Moscow 2013,’’ has been scheduled for between August 10 and 18 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.