Beijing Olympic bronze medalist, Blessing Okagbare, at the weekend won the Hungary Athletics Grand Prix long jump event in Budapest to re-enforce Nigeria’s quests to sweep track and field medals at the All Africa Games scheduled for next month in Maputo, Mozambique.
The Delta girl jumped 6.84m to claim the gold ahead of Renate Medgysova of Slovakia (6.64m) and American Janay Deloach (6.43m).
Although Okagbare’s win was partly added by a wind of +2.9, it however, did not stop the University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP) general studies major from celebrating her victory.
She returned later same Saturday evening to claim the bronze medal of the women 200m with a season’s best time of 22.94. Jamaican Veronica Campbell Brown won the gold in 22.26 while the silver went to Sanya Richards Ross of the USA in 22.85. All the top three winners ran their seasons best at the grand prix named after Istvan Gyulai, a former secretary general of the IAAF who died in 2006.
Okagbare’s field feat is coming on the heels of the sterling performances put up by both Doreen Amata in the high jump and Tosin Oke in the triple jump.
Apart from the fact that Amata has remained consistent this season, she is a top contender at the world stage with the record equaling 1.95m she posted three weeks ago in Germany. With a win over world leader, Blanka Vlasic at the Monaco leg of the Diamond League, the All Africa Games defending champion may shock the world to get to the podium at the World Championships holding in Daegu, South Korea, later this month.
Oke on the other hand, remains the favourite for the gold in Maputo with the season best of 17.20m he jumped in Barcelona penultimate weekend.
However, the weekend belonged to Jamaican sprinters who dominated the Budapest events as fast and dominating victories by Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown and a world-leading effort in the Discus Throw by Zoltan Kovago highlighted the inaugural Istvan Gyulai Memorial.
Powell, the current 100m world leader at 9.78, produced what was arguably his finest day of the season. After a smooth 9.90 (wind +1.8) in the preliminary round, the former World record holder clocked 9.86 (+2.0) in the final, to win by a hefty margin.