Okagbare goes for gold, as Bolt beats Gatlin for record ninth 100m title
Nigeria’s women sprint sensation, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, will step onto the tartan tracks of the Bird Nest Stadium, Beijing, to continue her quest for a first World Athletics Champions gold medal.
It is the women’s 100 metres, which semifinals and final will hold today, and the Nigerian is one of the top three stars expected to battle for the gold medal.
At the preliminaries, two-time world champion and Olympic champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, was the cynosure of all eyes with her green dyed hair stuck with a few.
She won her heat in 10.88 seconds, the same time clocked by U.S’ Tori Bowie. But Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who clocked 11.07 seconds to win her heat, is not bothered by the faster time posted by her opponents.
She said after winning the Heat Two that what mattered was qualification and with that settled, she would now be aiming for the ultimate prize. “It was not the easiest qualification but I felt comfortable coming to the stadium, just wanted to see what’s going to happen.
Tomorrow is a big day and my plan is to get to the final and run well. I used to come from behind but now I try to be more in the zone of the race,” she added. Earlier yesterday, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt showed he is still the most important in the sprints when he dusted American rival, Justin Gatlin, in the closing stages to win the blue riband 100 metres gold for a record ninth world championship title.
The Bird’s Nest, where Bolt first came to global acclaim seven years ago, stood awed when the Jamaican shrugged off a stumble in the semifinal to coast to victory in 9.79 seconds.
Gatlin, who was expected to beat Bolt for the first time in a major championship, came second in 9.80 seconds, his compatriot, Trayron Bromell and Canada’s youngster, Andre de Grasse, shared bronze with 9.92 each and identical 9.911 on the thousands countback.
While relishing the victory, Bolt, draped in Jamaican flag, said, “That still was not the best, I still stumbled. I came out here relaxed, no stress, and brought it home. “My aim is to be the number one until I retire.
And therefore I am pushing and pushing myself. It is all about running the race and getting it done. “You can call that race rusty. I could have run faster.’’
Bolt is the first athlete to get nine gold medals at world championships, moving ahead of Americans Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, who have eight each.
His overall haul at the worlds is 9-2-0 and he also has six Olympic titles. Gatlin dominated the past and current season, running a personal best 9.74 this year and looking sharper than Bolt in the Beijing heats and semi, clocking 9.77 seconds in the latter. Today’s finals are the women’s 100m, 10,000m and triple jump and the men’s 3,000m steeplechase and pole vault.