Blessing Okagbare

Blessing Okagbare

Sprinter/Long Jump

Blessing Okagbare tops the list of 35 athletes unveiled by the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for August 5-21, 2016 Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The reigning Commonwealth double sprints queen and former African 100m record holder will compete in the 100m, 200m and long jump events. Okagbare will be gunning for her second Olympic medal in Rio after jumping to a bronze medal finish in her debut in 2008 in Beijing.

Okagbare is an Olympic and World Championships medalist in the long jump, and a world medalist in the 200 metres. She also holds the Women’s 100 metres Commonwealth Games record for the fastest time at 10.85 seconds. Her 100 m best of 10.79 makes her the African record holder for the event. She was the African 100 m and long jump champion in 2010. She has also won medals at the All-Africa Games and the IAAF Continental Cup.

Date of Birth: 9 October, 1988

Place of Birth: Sapele, Delta State

Lives in: El Paso, Texas, USA

When Blessing Okagbare left the shores of Nigeria to study at the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP), she had little clue what awaits her in the United States. But three years down the line she stands on the cusps of being Africa’s best. At UTEP, Okagbare has found a new and fertile ground to explore. Over the last few years, one of the world’s best jumpers has turned herself into one of the world’s best sprinters.

From Blessing herself

“I grew up in Sapele (in the Niger Delta area) as a normal kid and it gave me a lot of challenges in life. I was forced to change primary schools from the Association Primary School to another school – Okotie Primary School II – because my first school was cancelled,” she said.  “Actually, I used to play soccer for my high school sometimes and later on fell in love doing track.  A coach/lecturer from my elder sister’s high school talked me into doing sports but before then, people always say I look athletic and they just believe I can do sports and later I also got motivated by my friends and family.”

Okagbare says she started jumping in 2004. “I actually was not a long jumper back then, I was a triple jumper. I won a gold medal in long jump and bronze medal in high jump as a Junior athlete for Delta State at the 2004 National Secondary Schools Games in Owerri, Imo State and later that year I attended the 14th National Sports Festival held in Abuja and won a bronze doing the triple jump.” This marked a turning point for Okagbare as she went on to represent Nigeria at the 2006 World Junior Athletics Championships in Beijing, China, but did not make it past the qualifying round.

    Medal Record

    Olympic Games
    Bronze medal – third place 2008 Beijing Long jump
    World Championships
    Silver medal – second place 2013 Moscow Long jump
    Bronze medal – third place 2013 Moscow 200 m
    Commonwealth Games
    Gold medal – first place 2014 Glasgow 100 m
    Gold medal – first place 2014 Glasgow 200 m
    Silver medal – second place 2014 Glasgow 4x100m
    All-Africa Games
    Gold medal – first place 2011 Maputo Long jump
    Gold medal – first place 2011 Maputo 4×100 m
    Gold medal – first place 2015 Brazzaville 4×100 m
    Silver medal – second place 2007 Algiers Long jump
    Silver medal – second place 2011 Maputo 100 m
    African Championships
    Gold medal – first place 2010 Nairobi 100 m
    Gold medal – first place 2010 Nairobi Long jump
    Gold medal – first place 2010 Nairobi 4×100 m
    Gold medal – first place 2014 Marrakesh 100 m
    Gold medal – first place 2014 Marrakesh 4×100 m
    Silver medal – second place 2012 Benin 100 m
    Continental Cup
    Bronze medal – third place 2010 Split 100 m
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