Okagbare leaps 6.77m to qualify for long jump

Blessing Okagbare in a long jump event.

Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor leapt to a 6.77m second place finish in the long jump event at the Istvan Gyulai Memorial in the Hungarian city of Székesfehérvár on Tuesday to qualify for the event at the 16th IAAF World Championships next month in London.

The 2008 Olympics bronze medallist in the event had secured qualification in the 100m and 200m last month and was struggling to hit the 6.75m entry standard set by the IAAF for the long jump.

The Sapele-born sprinter cum jumper, however, banished fears she could be missing in the long jump event at the London Worlds when she leapt two centimetres above the qualification standard set by the IAAF. It was at the same meeting where she ran her only sub 11 seconds (10.92 seconds) in the 100m last season, albeit with a massive flowing wind to render it illegal.

Okagbare came to Hungary with a 6.52m personal season’s best achieved in Eugene, Oregon, USA last month. She is the number two ranked long jumper in Africa behind compatriot, Ese Brume, whose 6.64m was, until Tuesday evening, the best mark by an African in the event.

Okagbare, who won a silver medal in the event at the 14th edition of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia in 2013 and is one of only two Nigerians to hit the 7m mark, is now the African leader in addition to booking a spot in London for the event.

Local athletics buffs believe Okagbare’s chances of making the final of an individual event in London and making a podium appearance thereafter are high in the long jump than in the sprints, where she struggled for form last season and is yet to run inside 11 seconds and break 22.4 this season.

Okagbare-Ighoteguonor also won the 100m event at the meeting with an 11.11 seconds run, her second fastest time of the season.

She won ahead of Remona Burchell of Jamaica (11.15) and Nigerian-born American, Morolake Akinosun (11.19), who came second and third respectively

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