Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints Queen

Though she didn’t do Nigeria proud in the just concluded world’s most anticipated Tokyo Olympics 2020, Blessing Okagbare is one athlete that has risen through the ropes, made a name for herself, lift the nation high and is promising to do more. Blessing Okagbare is a Nigerian track and field athlete, an Olympic and World Championships medalist, known for her success in long jump and short sprints. She has been named Nigerian sprints Queen and recorded in the world’s most revered Guinness Book of Records as well as in many other top prints for her many feats.
Blessing Okagbare was born on Sunday 9th October, 1988, in Sapele, Delta, Nigeria to Francis and Margaret Okagbare. As she grew, the sprints queen was encouraged by teachers and family to take up sports given her athletic physique. This must have influenced her initially decision of playing football as a teenager at her high school and later, in 2004 at 16, she began to take an interest in track and field.She participated in a number of disciplines early on, competing in the long jump, triple jump and high jump events at the Nigerian school championships and winning a medal in each. On the senior national stage, she was a triple jump bronze medalist at the 2004 Nigerian National Sports Festival. These feats opened international doors for her, her first international outing coming at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Athletics, where she performed in the qualifying rounds of both the long and triple jump competitions.

In May 2007, at the All-Africa Games trials in Lagos, she established a Nigerian record of 14.13 meters in the triple jump.

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At the 2007 All-Africa Games she won the silver medal in the long jump and finished fourth in the triple jump. In the latter competition, her Nigerian record was beaten by Chinonye Ohadugha, who jumped 14.21 meters. At 19 years old, Blessing Okagbare won a bronze medal in the women’s long jump event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and was eventually selected to compete at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics but did not start either the 100 m or long jump. She scored a 100 m/long jump double at the NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship for University of Texas at El Paso, completing an undefeated collegiate streak for the UTEP Miners that year. She won the Nigerian 100 m title in 2010, running a time of 11.04 seconds, and stated that she was opting out of the long jump in order to save herself for the upcoming African championships.Blessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints QueenAt the African Championships in 2010, she won gold in the long jump again with a distance of 6.62 m while her compatriot Comfort Onyali took silver. She also won gold in the 100 m distance with a run of 11.03 s flat, while Gabon’s Ruddy Zang Milama and compatriot Oludamola Osayomi won silver and bronze with runs of 11.15 s and 11.22 s respectively . She won her third gold at the end of the championship as part of the Nigerian 4×100 m women’s relay team. The team of Blessing Okagbare, Osayomi, Lawretta Ozoh and Agnes Osazuwa set a new championship record with a run of 43.43 s, more than a full second ahead of the silver-winning Cameroonian quartet.

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In 2011, Blessing Okagbare continued to build on her earlier endeavors by establishing herself as a 100 m runner. At the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Blessing Okagbare placed fifth in the 100 m final with a run of 11.12 s. However, she did not make it to the final of the long jump as her best jump of 6.36 m was not enough to get her out of her qualifying group. She concluded her 2011 season by winning three medals at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique. She won silver in the 100 m behind compatriot Oludamola Osayomi with a run of 11.01 s and gold in the long jump with a jump of 6.50 m. She was part of the Nigerian quartet that won gold in the 4 × 100 m with a time of 43.34. 2012 was a busy year for Blessing Okagbare. She jumped 6.97 m in the long jump in Calabar during the Nigerian championship. She won new continental medals at the 2012 African Championships in Porto-Novo. In the 100 m she was beaten to silver by Zang Milama, while in the long jump she claimed gold with a jump of 6.96 m.Blessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints QueenAt London 2012, Blessing Okagbare participated in her second Olympic Games. Going into the Olympics she had run a number of fast 100 m races and there was much anticipation and hope of a medal. However the 2012 Olympics were not as successful for her as her 2008 outing. She established a new personal best of 10.92 s in the 100 m semi-final but placed eighth in the final with a run of 11.01 s. 2013 would prove to be a breakthrough year for Okagbare. In April 2013, in Walnut, California, Blessing Okagbare set a personal record in the 200 m with a time of 22.31 s. Then, in July, she improved her personal best in the long jump with successive jumps of 6.98 m at the Athletissima meet in Lausanne, and 7.00 m during the Monaco Herculis meet.
Read also: Nigerian Okagbare Smashes 22year Old African Record

On 27 July 2013, at the London Anniversary Games, Blessing Okagbare set a new African record of 10.86 s in her 100 m race. She won the final about an hour later, setting a new African record of 10.79, in a race where she beat reigning 100 m Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Her record eclipsed the existing record by compatriot Glory Alozie of 10.90 s which had stood since 1998. At the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, she won the silver medal in the long jump. Her jump of 6.99 m put her in second place behind Brittney Reese of the United States by only two centimeters. In the 100 m final, she placed sixth with a run of 11.04 s and also placed third in the 200 m race. Blessing Okagbare participated in both the 100m and 200m races.Blessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints QueenShe made it through to the finals of the 100m and won with a time of 10.85, breaking the games record of 10.91 seconds set by Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie 12 years earlier at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Blessing Okagbare also won the gold medal in the 200, with a time of 22.25 seconds. In doing so, she became the fourth woman to win the 100m and 200m double at the Commonwealth Games.
Read also: Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare Breaks Usain Bolts Record With Most Appearance At The IAAF Diamond League
It was initially reported that Blessing Okagbare was banned from representing Nigeria at the 2016 Olympics., a report which the Athletics Federation of Nigeria eventually refuted. Though she opted out of the individual events at the All-Africa Games, she did run in the 4 × 100 m relay and help the Nigerian team (Cecilia Francis, Blessing Okagbare, Ngozi Onwumere and Lawretta Ozoh) secure the gold medal. The then Director General of Nigeria’s National Sports Commission Al Hassan Yakmu was angered by the perceived snub “I was shocked when I saw Okagbare competing in the Diamond League in Zurich last Thursday. I was wondering if it was the same Okagbare who refused to compete for Nigeria in the 200m event at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing. She even opted out of Team Nigeria for the All-Africa Games in Congo. Why? I have said it times without number that any athlete who feels too big to compete for Nigeria in the All-Africa Games should not bother about the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. No athlete is bigger than Nigeria”, he said.Blessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints Queen
In 2015, Blessing Okagbare ran the lead off leg in the 4 × 200 m at the World Relays but couldn’t not appear in the 200 meters at the IAAF World Championships or the All Africa Games due to a hamstring injury she sustained while finishing last in the final of the 100 meters at the World Championships. At the end of the season, she did participate in the IAAF Diamond League meet, the Weltklasse Zürich in Zurich, finishing second in the 100 meters.
Read also: Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare Suspended From Tokyo Olympics After Failing Drug Test
Blessing Okagbare also had a disappointing show at 2016 Rio Olympics as she finished without a single medal. She never made it to the final but was ranked 3rd in 100m semifinal finishing at 11.09s and ranked 8th with her teammates in the final of 4 × 100 m relay. After winning her first round heat in the 100 metres with a time of 11.05, she was subsequently suspended on 31 July 2021 after failing a drug test taken on 19 July 2021, which tested positive for human growth hormone.Blessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints Queen
Blessing Okagbare holds the Guinness World Records for the most appearances in Diamond League Meetings, making a total of 67 appearances between the 3rd of July 2010 and 31 August 2018. She is a Women’s Commonwealth Games record holder and current African record holder in 200m. In 2013, she did 10.79 seconds in 100m to hold the best African senior record from 27 July 2013 to 11 June 2016, did 14.13 m in triple jump (46 ft 4+1⁄4) in (2007), recorded in the Confederation of African Athletes under-20 record. In addition to these, here are some remarkable appearances she has made.Blessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints Queen
Nigerian Athletics Championships
100 meters: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
200 meters: 2013, 2014, 2016
Long jump: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013
Triple jump: 2007, 2008
NCAA Women’s Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships
100 meters: 2010
Long jump: 2010
NCAA Women’s Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships
60 meters: 2010
100 m
Meeting Sport Solidarietà: 2010
London Grand Prix: 2012, 2013
Herculis: 2012
IAAF World Challenge Beijing: 2013
Jamaica International Invitational: 2014
Shanghai Golden Grand Prix: 2015
Meeting de Atletismo Madrid: 2016
Gyulai István Memorial: 2016, 2017
Marseille Meeting International: 2017
Hanžeković Memorial: 2017
Texas Relays: 2018Blessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints Queen
200 m
Mt. SAC Relays: 2013
British Grand Prix: 2013
Shanghai Golden Grand Prix: 2014
Meeting Areva: 2014
Michael Johnson Classic: 2016
Folksam Grand Prix: 2016
KBC Night of Athletics: 2016
Long jump
Gyulai István Memorial: 2011
Athletissima: 2013
Herculis: 2013
Shanghai Golden Grand Prix: 2014
Olympic Games
Silver medal – 2008 Beijing Long jump
World Championships
Silver medal –  2013 Moscow Long jump
Bronze medal – third place 2013 Moscow 200 m
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal –  2014 Glasgow 100 m
Gold medal – 2014 Glasgow 200 m
Silver medal – 2014 Glasgow 4×100 m relay
Bronze medal – 2018 Gold Coast 4×100 m relay
African Games
Gold medal – 2015 Brazzaville, Congo 4 × 100 m relay
Gold medal – 2019 Rabat, Morocco 4 × 100 m relayBlessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints Queen
All-Africa Games
Gold medal – 2011 Maputo Long jump
Gold medal – 2011 Maputo 4×100 m relay
Gold medal – 2015 Brazzaville 4×100 m relay
Silver medal – 2007 Algiers Long jump Silver medal – second place 2011 Maputo 100 m
African Championships
Gold medal – 2010 Nairobi 100 m
Gold medal – 2010 Nairobi Long jump
Gold medal – 2010 Nairobi 4×100 m relay
Gold medal – 2012 Benin Long jump
Silver medal – 2012 Benin 100 m
Gold medal – 2014 Marrakesh 100 m
Gold medal – 2014 Marrakesh 4×100 m relay
Gold medal – 2018 Asaba 4×100 m relay
World Relays
Gold medal – 2015 Nassau 4×200 m relay
Continental Cup
Bronze medal – 2010 Split 100 m
Bronze medal – 2010 4×100 m relayBlessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints Queen
In September 2014, Blessing Okagbare got married to Nigerian footballer Igho Otegheri. Their marriage was well celebrated in Sapele, Delta State shortly after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, where she emerged as double sprint champion. 6 years after, however, things went Wong between the couple and they in turn went their separate ways amid allegations of infidelity, laziness and other irreconcilable differences after Blessing filed for a divorce.

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A source reportedly told The Guardian back then that on several occasions, Blessing invested so much money on one form of business or the other for Igho to manage but the business crashed soon after it took off. The source reportedly added that Blessing 
tried everything possible to keep the marriage going to no avail.
Following this, the Olympics medalist in her Instastories said she is no longer interested in dating as she had lost interest in dating but anyone who wants to win her heart should write an essay of 500 words on how he would not waste her time.Blessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints Queen Blessing Okagbare: Biography, Achievements, Records And Marriage Of The Nigerian Sprints Queen TRENDING VIDEO OF THE DAY: Baba Ijesha’s Hearing Postponed To September

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 Photos Credit: Getty

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