The face-off between the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and star sprinter, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, may have been thawed by the athlete’s stunning performance at the IAAF Diamond League on Sunday night in Shanghai, China.
The Commonwealth and African champion ran 10.98 seconds to beat a field of big-name sprinters, including Olympic and world champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, last year’s world leader Tori Bowie, fastest in the field this year, Michelle-Lee Ayhe and Veronica Campbell-Brown, at the IAAF Golden League race.
Before her race in China, Okagbare and the AFN were at loggerheads following her outburst against the Federation after the World Relays in the Bahamas, where Nigeria won gold in the 4x200m.
Yesterday, AFN’s Technical Director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, congratulated the athlete, saying Okagbare deserves commendation for her performance in Shanghai, adding she Okagbare remains Nigeria’s best athlete at the moment.
“Blessing remains our daughter despite her unnecessary outburst against the AFN recently,” Nesiama told The Guardian. “As a Federation, we will continue to encourage her so that she can realize her dream of becoming a world champion later this year in Beijing and Olympics champion next year in Rio. But she must remain focused and stay away from things that will stir unnecessary criticism around her. She must stop dabbling into issues that does not concern her.”