By Femi Solaja
Nigeria’s ‘Queen of the Track’ Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor was the hero of the night as she led the trio of Joy Gabriel-Udoh, Rosemary Chukwuma and Oluwatobiloba Amusan to win the 4×100 metres relay race ahead of rival, Côte d Ivoire at the ongoing African Athletics Championships at the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba, Delta State.
The race is the first and only event Okagbare took part in at the ongoing African Athletics Championships after she pulled out of the 100 and 200 metres events on the ground of injury which was a big disappointment to thousands of locals who had come to cheer their heroine. In the race proper, the dexterity with which she anchored the second leg and the perfect exchange of baton contributed immensely to the success of the team and the qualification to represent Africa at the forth coming World Cup in Prague next month.
However, the 43.77 secs returned by Nigerian quartet was far from their personal best which Amusan promised that the team will improve on in the subsequent races.
Côte d Ivoire led by Lou Gonezie Marie TA finished in 44.40 secs. while Kenya won bronze in 45.58 secs. South Africa, Cameroon, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia followed in that order.
In the men’s race, South Africa beats Nigeria to win the gold medal in 38.25secs while Nigeria team returned 38.74 secs. and Côte d Ivoire won the bronze in 38.92 secs. Zimbabwe, Kenya, Gambia, Cameroon and Burkina Faso all followed in that order.
The championship will end on Sunday.