Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor on Tuesday evening finished first in the 100m race in a time of 11:14 seconds at the IAAF World Challenge in Zagreb, Croatia to boost her confidence ahead of Friday’s IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels in Belgium.
The victory means the reigning double Commonwealth Games sprint champion has been reconfirmed as one of the eight athletes that will jostle for prize money of $50,000.
Blessing who failed to make a mark in the 100m final at the 16th IAAF World Championship in London early in the month, beat Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (11:23 seconds) and Ahye Michelle-Lee of Trinidad and Tobago (11:26 seconds).
However, she will have to be faster than the 11:14 seconds she finished in Zagreb and 10:99 seconds personal season’s best she ran at the London leg of the IAAF Diamond League in July to stand a chance of clinching the top prize and also emerging as the ribband winner for the season.
She faces stiff oppositions in the pair of reigning double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica and Marie-Josee Ta Lou from Côte d’Ivoire who claimed silver medals in the 100m and 200m races at the IAAF World in London.
She will also run against Williams Christiania and Levy Jura from Jamaica and Nigeria-born American, Moraleke Akinosun to emerge winner of Friday’s Diamond League final race.
Aside from the $50,000 top prize offered, each of the eight athletes on the starting lane will pocket cash money ranging from $2,000 to $20,000.