Monday, 16 July 2012 11:37
Nigeria's Olympic gold medal hopeful Blessing Okagbare destroyed an all-star 100m line-up that included the world champion, setting a new personal best in the process at the Aviva Grand Prix - Samsung Diamond League meet at Crystal Palace in London.
Okagbare shocked a field of athletes that included her US training partner and American world champion Carmelita Jeter and Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica – who is the fastest woman in the world this year – by crossing the finish line in 11.01 seconds.
Earlier, Okagbare had clocked a personal best of 10.99 seconds in the semifinal heat, where she finished behind Fraser-Pryce and missed Gloria Alozie's African record by nine hundredths of a second.
Speaking to the media after the race, Okagbare said: "I'm excited. Whatever you say about the conditions, you have to go out there and do your best. That was what I did today and I'm really grateful for that. The time was good."
"It was a strong field. You've got to keep your focus and do what you have to do and that was what I did," she added.
Last month at the All Nigeria Championships in Calabar, Okagbare won the 100m for the fourth time in a row and was also voted the most valuable athlete.
She was however dethroned as Africa's best by Ruddy Zang Milama at the recently concluded African Championships in Port Novo, Benin.
However, the win has given Okagbare confidence for the forthcoming London 2012 Olympics, where she will once again face the likes of Jeter and Fraser-Pryce, and she admitted that she was "happy to be in the mix" for a podium position come July 27, when the Games officially kick off.
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