Nigeria’s 200m outdoor record holder at 22.04 seconds,Blessing Okagbare will be hoping for a historic return to the half lap indoor track at the Randal Tyson Indoor Centre in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA where the third leg of the American Track League will hold today.
Okagbare has raced over the distance only four times,all in 2010 with her 23.52 seconds run in February of that year her best best performance ever.
That best performance however ranks her only the ninth best in the Nigerian all-time list and Okagbare will want to rewrite the history books by becoming not only Nigeria’s fastest woman ever over the distance indoors but by also becoming the first and only Nigerian to break 23 seconds in the event.
Quartermiler Regina George’s 23.00 seconds run in Fayetteville in 2013 remains the closest a Nigerian has come to running inside 23 seconds in the event and Okagbare will be bouyed by her performance in the 60m event last month at the same venue where she raced into a new 7.17 seconds personal best.
The beautiful, long striding Nigerian will also be seeking to achieve a 60m/200m double at the event as she aims to improve on the 60m personal best she set enroute to winning the race last month.
Okagbare has been drawn in lane four in the second heat alongside Jenna Prandini,the 2015 NCAA 100m champion who will be making her 60m debut this season after winning the 300m event at the same event last month. The Nigerian is the fastest woman so far in the heat this term and should race into her second final of the event on second attempt. In the 200m,the 2013 World Championships silver and bronze medal winner will also run from lane four in the first heat
Two Nigerians will attempt to shock the world in the 60m where reigning world leader,Trayvon Bromell who ran 6.48 seconds to win at the same venue last month is returning as he builds towards being a favorite in the sprints at the Tokyo Olympics.
Divine Oduduru and little known Charles Okezie will be aiming for the near impossible. While Oduduru who came second behind Bromell the last time out will be aiming to not only run faster than the 6.55 seconds he ran last month but also his personal best of 6.52 seconds achieved in February of 2019 to stand a chance of upsetting the proverbial apple cart, Okezie has no known impressive record in Nigerian athletics outside his membership of the Nigeria’s 4x400m gold winning team to the 2013 African Junior Championships in Mauritius.
Incidentally,his more illustrious Nigerian, Oduduru was also a member of the 4x100m gold winning relay quartet at the championships to add to his 200m gold.