- Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are already gathering momentum and Nigeria is now hopeful for a medal in the sprints
- Barely one day after 10 Nigerian athletes were banned from the Games, two compatriots have qualified for the women’s 100m semis
- Blessing Okagbare dusted her counterparts in Heat 6, while Grace Nwokocha finished third in her Heat to also qualify
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is gradually reaching the crucial stages and there is hope for Nigeria as Blessing Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha are through to the women’s 100m semifinals, Making of Champions reports.
Impressive Okagbare came first in Heat 6, after she sprinted past her competitors about 10m left in the race, to clock 11.05s for the win, Vanguard reports.
Asha Philip of Great Britain arrived 2nd, while Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither followed through for the third position.
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Okagbare who won double commonwealth gold medals in 2014 will face Britain’s Dina Asha-Smith in the first heat of the semis; a race which also includes defending Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah.
Also, Nigeria’s National Sports Festival double champion Grace Nwokocha put up a spectacular show when she ran a new personal best of 11.00s.
She finished third in the heats and also secured automatic qualification to the semifinals on Saturday. In the same heat with Nwokocha was double Olympic Champion and Jamaican sprint star, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
The Nigerian who did not start well gained enough speed when the race reached the drive phase and she did well enough to finish third behind Fraser-Pryce and Swiss sprinter Ajla Del Ponte.
Nwokocha, who is making her Olympic debut, has now been drawn in lane 9 in Heat 3 of the semis which will take place by 11:31 am on Saturday.
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Meanwhile, Habibat Abiola Ogunbanwo got to the finish line first in the women's 100metres freestyle in the swimming event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
How Ogunbanwo became a national hero It was her first appearance in an Olympic tournament as she recorded a time of 59.74sec to break the national record in Heat 1.
The 17-year-old broke the longstanding record of Ngozi Monu who finished in the time of 1:00.50 back in 2007.
However, Ogunbanwo failed to qualify into the semi-finals as her time was ranked 48th after all six Heat have been conducted.
10 Nigerian athletes banned from Tokyo Olympics
Legit.ng earlier reported that ten Nigerians have been banned from competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games the Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) have declared them ineligible for doping and non-anti-doping issues, Premium Times reports.
Out of the 18 athletes suspended from participating in the Games, Team Nigeria are the most affected country.
The AIU explained that the respective national federations of countries are responsible for ensuring appropriate anti-doping measures are in place in their respective jurisdictions.