A board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Brown Ebewele has described the new African record set by Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor in the 200m event as ‘fantastic.’
Okagbare at the weekend started her outdoor season with an impressive 22.04secs in a 200m race at the Wes Kittley Invitational Track and Field Meet at the Abilene Christian University in Texas, which erased the 22-year-old previous African record of 22.07secs set by Mary Onyali at a Meet in Switzerland in 1996.
Apart from becoming the new African record, Okagbare’s winning time also becomes the new national record in the women’s 200m. Okagbare’s previous personal best in the event was the 22.23 seconds set at the 2014 Eugene Diamond League.
With her latest exploit, Okagbare now holds the Nigerian records in the women’s 100m (10.79secs) and 200m.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Ebewele, a former sports commissioner in Edo State, stated that such performance usually comes from ‘special athletes’ once in two decades.
“There are records in athletics that usually defy waves of challenges and it takes a special athlete to break it,” Ebewele stated.
Okagbare did not compete in the indoor season, which started in January. The Wes Kittley Invitational was her first competition of the season. She is one of the 37 athletes listed by the AFN to participate at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, which begins on April 4.