IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Nigeria’s hope for a sprint medal at the ongoing 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar varnished yesterday following the disqualification of Blessing Okagbare in the 200m heat.
Running in heat five after she was reinstated into the longer sprint, the 2013 bronze medalist in the event in Moscow got disqualified for stepping outside of her lane.
Earlier at the weekend, Okagbare and reigning NCAA double sprint champion, Divine Oduduru were disqualified from the rest of the events they were entered for at Doha 2019 following their ‘No Show’ in the 100m.
Both athletes had told Nigeria Athletics Federation (AFN) that they had no intention to run the men and women’s 100m events but were shocked to find their names in the start lists.
However, Nigeria’s appeal to IAAF was accepted to have the two athletes back for the rest of their events.
Oduduru however failed in his bid to get to the final of the 200m last night as he placed last in the second semi final race. He clocked 20.84 secs to place eight in the race won by Canadian Andre de Grasse (20.37secs). The only event left for the Delta-born sprinter is the 4x100m relay.
Meanwhile, Favour Ofili and Patience Okon George both qualified for the semi final of the women’s 400m event yesterday.
Ofili who is a University of Port Harcourt undergraduate clocked a Personal Best time of 51.51sec to place third in the heat won by Galefele Moroko of Botswana in 50.59 secs. Jamaican Stephenie McPherson cruised to second in 51.21.
Nigeria’s other quarter miler in the 400m, Okon-George sneaked into the semis as one of the fastest losers with her 51.77secs.
Silver medalist in the 100m, Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith showed no signs of fatigue as she ran the fastest time of the day to reach the 200m semi-finals at the World Championships.
The 23-year-old Briton, who claimed her first major global medal in the early hours of Monday, won her heat in 22.32 seconds.
Compatriots Jodie Williams and Beth Dobbin also reached today’s semis. Olympic champion Elaine Thompson also advance.
Okagbare’s absence and the withdrawal of 100m bronze medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast have boosted Asher-Smith’s hopes in an event that was already without Dutch defending champion Dafne Schippers and 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica.
Asher-Smith is ranked number one in this event this season and is the odds-on favourite to win her first global outdoor title.
It will take a special performance from her remaining rivals to take the gold away from Asher-Smith.