Blame IAAF For Okagbare’s Finish

Blessing Okagbare should not have been placed in lane 9 in Monday’s 100m final going by the 10.89 seconds she ran in the semi-final.

That was the thinking here in Beijing a day after the race and Okagbare’s manager is reportedly furious with the IAAF.

Moscow 2013: Okagbare loses out on 100m medalOkagbare, by her time, should have drawn one of the middle lanes as was done for Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown who also ran 10.89 in the semi-final and was dawn in lane four.

Paul Doyle, Okagbare’s manager, reportedly felt his athlete was left unsupported by her federation, the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, whose technical director, Omatseye Nesiama, failed to protest the lane placement.

“This is one of the problems we have when we don’t use merit but politics to pick who heads a department as technical as the technical committee,” said one of the Nigerian athletes who begged not to be named for the fear of being persecuted.

The athlete could not understand why a man who was neither an ex-athlete nor a coach could be made to head such a sensitive position.

“In this era of the sport going scientific and federations all over the world going for a sports scientist or an ex international with a little knowledge of sports heading such a committee, we chose to put a dilletante in charge,” the athlete further said and wondered what such respected people like Dr Ken Anugweje, a professor of sports science or professor Tunde Makanju as well as Falilat Ogunkoya, arguably Nigeria’s cleanest and on account of that most successful athlete, were doing when AFN president Solomon Ogba unilaterally named Nesiama as technical director.

Okagbare, it was argued, would not have been too far from the major contenders if she had been drawn in either lane 3, 4 or 7.

Meanwhile, Technical manager of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Yussuf on Tuesday posit that Africa’s queen of the track and field Blessing Okagbare will bounce back in the women 200m event which begins on Wednesday at the Main bowl of Beijing National Stadium popularly called Bird’s Nest.

Okagbare was tipped by bookmakers and athletic buffs worldwide to medal in the women 100m on Monday, but she failed to climb the podium.

Another chance for Okagbare to make a podium appearance presents itself on Wednesday when heat of the women 200m start, she will run in Heat 3 from lane 4.

Alli a former captain of Team Nigeria said the athletics world was shocked that Okagbare did not medal in the 100m,

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“But that is history now, in track and field many things change in a split of seconds, she has put Monday race behind her and she is focused on doing well in the 200m. She has what it takes to win a medal in the event, she won a bronze medal at the Moscow 200m edition of the World Championships. She has being doing well consistently in the 200m, am positive she will medal’’ said Alli the national record holder in long jump.

Also on Wednesday, Tosin Oke will compete in Group A of the men Triple Jump.

Meanwhile, Patience Okon George failed in her effort to make the final of the women 400m as she finished fourth in the heat 2 of the semi-final in 50.76 sec.

Also Tega Odele failed to advance to the next round of the men 200m as he finished sixth in 20.49 sec.

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