Blessing Okagbare seem to have recovered from the disappointing 100m race on Tuesday when she powered home in 22.39 seconds on Thursday at the Luizhniki Stadium. The feat made her the third Nigerian woman to run in the finals of the 200m at the IAAF World championships after Mary Onyali and Fatimah Yusuf. Running in the second semi-final alongside three-time winner and one of the big favourites for the gold medal, Allyson Felix of the USA, the Nigerian ran a relaxed race to pick the second automatic ticket for Friday (tonight’s) final behind Felix who ran a new personal season’s best of 22.31. Okagbare, with a season’s best of 22.31 seconds is one of the athletes tipped for medals. She is up against formidable foes in Felix; 100m champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pyrce and Cote d’Ivoire’s Murielle Ahoure who is the fastest African woman this year at 22.24 seconds.
Okagbare said after her race on Thursday that there are no favourites in tonight’s final. Although the reigning Nigeria 200m champion admits she is not in the shape, she is however determined to race to the podium to become the first Nigerian woman to win a 200m medal as well as the first Nigerian, man or woman to win two medals at the same championship.
She said, ‘’My legs are not feeling as great as the first day but that was expected. I am just taking it one step at a time. When it’s qualification, I worry about qualification, when it is the semi-final I worry about the semi-final… I’m fine. Anybody can medal, so I just don’t underestimate anyone.’’