Africa and Commonwealth sprint champion, Blessing Okagbare, sign-posted what to expected at this year’s IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China when she won the Shanghai leg of the 2015 Diamond League yesterday.
Okagbare did it easily, beating last year’s world leader, Tori Bowie, by almost a metre, 10.98 to 11.07. Jamaican Olympic champion Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce trailed home in fifth place.
“My race was pretty good,” Okagbare said after the race. “It is not easy to compete with the best of the world – but I won. I focused on my start. Normally I don’t have the best start, but now I was leading from the beginning.”
Barely a fortnight ago, Okagbare, led the Nigerian quartet of Regina George, Dominique Duncan and Christy Udoh, to win the 4x200m gold of the Bahamas Relay.
Fraser-Pryce was not overly concerned with her 11.25 opener.
“It was one of those races,” she said. “I have time to get it right.”
Asked if she would now have her work cut out in defending her title in Beijing later in the year, Fraser-Pryce said: “I always have my work cut out. No one hands anything to you.”
Jeff Henderson led the men’s long jump from the first round to the fifth, his 8.26m coming on his first attempt.
Russian Long Jump star, Aleksandr Menkov, worked his way into contention, his winning jump coming in the fifth round. Both Chinese jumpers had their best efforts in the fourth round in a competition that swung any number of ways.
Olympic champion Greg Rutherford finished seventh with 8.05m on his first-round attempt, his lowest placing in a final since July 2012. The remainder of his series was four fouls and a run-through 6.52m.
Caterine Ibarguen led the women’s triple jump from start to finish, showing remarkable consistency early in unpredictable wind conditions – 14.68m, 14.70m, 14.68m and 14.71m on her first four jumps, before nearing her world lead with 14.85m in the fifth round.