Nigeria’s Grace Nwokocha Tuesday in Lagos raced to the top of the world’s 100m list of top performances so far in 2021 after scorching to a new 11.09 seconds personal best at the AFN/MOC Grand Prix sponsored by Betking.
The time not only is the fastest so far run by a woman so far this term, it also ensures she has one leg in the plane to Tokyo this July for the Olympics after smashing the 11.15 qualication standard set for the event.
Nwokocha stormed into national prominence last year when she ran 11.38 seconds to win the 100m event at the AFN All-Comers meet in Akure.
Although the time was not accepted due to unnecessary politicking in the federation at the time, the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted the 2020 season denied Nigerians the opportunity to witness what would have been the emergence of a new track queen.
This term, Nwokocha has proved her impressive display in Akure last year was not by happenstance as she has been setting new personal best with every blue ribband race.
She started the season with 11.31 seconds in the first round at the All-Comers meet in Akure before racing to another personal best of 11.23 seconds in the final.
Then on Tuesday in Lagos, the Port Harcourt-based sprinter stormed into a new 11.17 seconds personal best in the heat before obliterating the field with her incredible 11.09 seconds finish.
She is now the ninth fastest in the Nigerian all-time list and the first home-based athlete to run inside 11.10 seconds on Nigerian soil in over two decades and the fastest since Franca Idoko ran 11.14 seconds in July 2008 in Abuja.
Acting President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Honourable Olamide George, expressed delight with the quality of the performances on the first day of competition and revealed the federation has no regret partnering Making of Champions.
“I am delighted that we are able to provide competitions for the athletes and the results are already showing,” said George who also thanked the Sports Minister, Chief Sunday Dare for providing the federation with the enabling environment for the sport to thrive inspite of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Chief Dare has been a pillar of support to the AFN. He has, through the adopt-an-athlete initiative provided funding for some of our elite athletes and the results are beginning to show positively. Grace Nwokocha is one of the athletes adopted and we can see the result now.”
George has assured the athletes of more competitions before the African Championship in June and the Olympics thereafter.