Nigeria’s biggest athlete, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor has been begged by Nigerian sports officials to run in the 100m and 200m at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Okagbare recently smashed the 22.07 seconds African 200m record set by Mary Onyali some 22 years ago. She also had a blistering performance in the 100m at a recent meet in Texas, USA, to raise hopes of another successful sprint double, when she defend her Commonwealth Games titles.
Unknown to many, Okagbare had entered for only the 4x100m relay event instead of the usual 100m, long jump and 200m events. Team Nigeria’s camp in Australia is said to be in turmoil since it was discovered Okagbare had opted for one event.
According to the Guardian, some top officials of the Sports Ministry, as well as the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) were ‘working’ on Okagbare to change her decision.
“I have spoken with Okagbare on this issue and I can tell you that she is not happy with the way Nigerian government treated her when she was injured. This girl went through a lot for over three months battling with her injury, and many people thought she wouldn’t recover from it not to talk of running fast again. There was no form of assistance or financial grant to assist her during the rehabilitation.
“She felt abandoned by the Sports Ministry and the AFN. She feels it is not worth taking risk for the country that abandoned her in time of need. But some top officials are talking to her. Maybe, things could change before athletics events commence on April 9,” the official said.