By Obi Martins Okafor.
Within the last couple of weeks, Nigerians have witnessed setbacks in the ongoing Olympic competition, before then, sports stakeholders, administrators and Journalists have raised hopes of Nigerians, assuring the sports enthusiasts of our ability to win a couple of medals.
Our best hope of a medal, Blessing Okagbare had a progressive rise to the London Olympic Games final. About ten days to the Olympics, she ran 11 seconds in a Diamond League in Crystal Palace, London, to beat the big names in the sport including Carmelita Jeter of USA and Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica.
Few days later she ran her personal best of 10.96 seconds to win again in Monaco.
She arrived at the Olympic Games and improved on that in her first heat here which she won with 10.93 seconds, the second fastest time in the heats, only second to Jeter’s 10.83.
The girl Nigerians banked on to win the country’s first medal ran a disappointing 11.01 seconds in the final when all hoped that her progression would continue in the star-studded race. It simply meant that something wrong had happened. She confirmed this to Vanguard yesterday but vowed to move on. Fraser defended her title and Jeter was second. Blessing was last.
“I’ll get some treatment and move on”, she said in a brief chat yesterday morning. It was her first reaction since Saturday night.
Getting to the finals of the Olympic 100m event is no minor achievement. Though she was success shy at that event, Nigerians should look ahead. With the Long jump event and other track and field events still to come, maximum support should be giving to the athletes if we are to have one of our athlete climb the podium.