By Duro Ikhazuagbe
The good fortunes trailing Blessing Okagbare in the ongoing IAAF
Diamond League has been described as a tip of the iceberg of what she
has in store for Nigerians.
Chairman of Delta Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick, told THISDAY
Tuesday that Okagbare would return from the World Championships in
Russia with the gold medal of the 14th edition around her neck.
Amaju's optimism is coming from the backdrop of Okagbare's blistering
form, leading to a new African record in the women's 100m event.
"I see Blessing (Okagbare) as the champion of the women’s 100m event
in Moscow. She has remained focused and consistent so far this outdoor
season. I want Nigerians to join me in praying for her not to sustain
any injury ahead of the World Championships in Moscow,” observed the
Delta Sports Commission boss Tuesday.
He gave kudos to Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan for
helping to lay the foundation for Okagbare’s blissful track & field
“I want to thank Governor Uduaghan for the support for Blessing
(Okagbare). If you can recall, when She could not make it to the
podium at last year’s London Olympic Games, Blessing was considering
quitting athletics. She was dispirited but Gov. Uduaghan invited her
over to the Government House and encouraged her both morally and
financially. He also supported her with training grant. I am glad that
she was able to overcome the inability to win in London,” he stressed.
Amaju further hinted that the governor gave Okagbare a brand new SUV
as a gift to help her move around when in the country.
“Blessing (Okagbare) promised at that SUV presentation to repay Gov.
Uduaghan with a quality outing this season. It is this determination
to excel that has wiped away her tears and return to the same London
where she could not win last year to beat the same top sprinters last
Meanwhile, a former President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria
(AFN), Tony Urhobo, has charged the country’s athletes to the Moscow
championships to stay focused.
The championship is scheduled to hold from Aug.10 to Aug.18 in Moscow.
Urhobo said in Lagos that the athletes should concentrate on their
training schedules and stay disciplined, to boost their chances of
excelling at the championships.
``First of all, I will say it is too late to say that the AFN should
camp them, but the athletes should just concentrate on whatever
training they have had, and they should be focused.
``They should be disciplined; track and field is not guess work. This
championship is where the best in the world will participate and
Nigeria needs to be steadfast.
``Competing with the best in the world is not a joke, so, they should
not lose focus,’’ he said.
Urhobo, who is also a former coach, advised the athletes to shun
performance enhancing drugs, to avoid being embarrassed when caught.
``The IAAF is trying in the area of curbing the use of illegal drugs.
``I also want to caution our athletes to desist from such acts because
we don’t have the capacity to influence decisions at that level,” he