The Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has predicted that Blessing Okagbare may emerge world champion in the women’s 100m race at the forthcoming IAAF World Championship in Russia If she maintains her current form.
Abdullahi’s optimism is based on Okagbare’s latest victory, which saw her break the Africa women’s 100 metre record at the London Diamond League, which took place at the weekend.
She first ran 10.86 second in one of the heats, which was better than the previous African record of 10.90, held by former Nigerian sprinter Gloria Alozie.
Okagbare further improved her personal record by running 10.79 in the final, winning the women’s 100m event at the same venue at Stratford where she failed to make a mark at the London Olympics.
Abdullahi said he was very impressed by her performance and form.
“She has consistently shown by her performances that she has got what it takes to be a world champion. It is an impressive performance by any standard, breaking the Africa record two times within a short period. It shows that she is world-class and ranks among the best athletes in the world.
“I have no doubt that if she maintains her current form and peaks at the right time she will win the women’s 100m at the World Championship in Russia,” the minister said, while congratulating Okagbare.
The IAAF World Championship will take place in Russia between August 10 and 18, 2013.
In another development, the minister has congratulated the
home-based Super Eagles for qualifying for the CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN) taking place in South Africa next January.
The team qualified for the championship for the first-time ever after 4-3 aggregate victory over the home-based Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire.
Although the Eagles lost the last match 0-2 against the Ivoirians, their superior 4-1 victory in the first leg, which took place in Kaduna earlier, was good enough to ensure qualification for the team.
He commended the players and technical team for a job well done and assured the team of support as they proceed to the championship.
“I congratulate the coaching crew and all the players for the hard work, discipline and brilliance which ensured that Nigeria has qualified for the CHAN for the first time. I am particularly pleased with the performance of the footballers who gave their best in and out of the field. This goes to show the depth and quality of the Glo Premier League.”
He also noted that the success of the team has demonstrated that the Eagles’ AFCON win was not a fluke and an indication that Nigeria is about to dominate African football.