Nigeria’s queen of the track, Blessing Okagbare failed to qualify for the final of the women’s 100m at the Rio Olympic Games despite coming third with a time of 11.09sec in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Okagbare was Nigeria’s brightest hope for a medal at the Games and finished brilliantly in Heat 3 after coming second in the race to qualify for the semifinals. However, her inability not to move quickly in lane 5 dented her hope of making it to the medal spot as Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) and USA’s English Gardner won the two automatic spots with a time of 10.88sec and 10.90sec respectively.
The long-striding Thompson, who last year came to prominence with an IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 200m silver medal, got away quickly alongside Great Britain’s Desiree Henry. By 60 meters, Thompson had cleared daylight on her rivals before easing off the accelerator for the final phase of the race. Gardner, the 2016 U.S. champion, with her familiar rocking style, finished strongly to claim the second automatic qualifier.
In fact, she eventually claimed the women’s 100m final with a time of 10.71sec, beating favorites Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who was bidding for a third straight Olympic title for the gold medal on Sunday morning, while Tori Bowie of the United States came from behind to take silver with a time of 10.83.
Okagbare won a bronze medal in the women’s long jump event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing when she was 19 years old and will now focus on the women’s 200m, 4×400 relay and long jump for medal placement.