In an online review of the world top 10 sprinters in 2014, Blessing Okagbare, Nigeria’s and Africa’s Queen of the track who posted a top-notch performance this season was selected as the best ahead of Justin Gatlin, a five time Olympic medalist; Kaliese Spencer, Dafne Schippers and Kirani James .
The Beijing 2008 Long Jump Bronze Medalist is the reigning Nigerian and Commonwealth 100m & 200m Champion, and African 100m Champ as well!
She had a good outing at the Diamond League, especially in Shanghai where she won a double with Meet Records in the Long jump (6.86m) and 200m. She ran also a PB of 22.23s in the 200m to come 2nd behind surprise winner Tori Bowie in Eugene.
Okagbare is now the most prolific athlete of the Diamond League since its inception in 2010, notching up her 38th appearance in the series. She participated in nine Diamond League meetings this season, winning four of them. She’s ranked second in the IAAF World rankings in the 100m this year, and fifth in the 200m.
At the Nigerian Championships in Calabar, she became the first athlete in the Country’s Track and Field history to win a sixth consecutive title in the 100m in a CR of 11.06s, before going on to make it a sprint double in the 200m in 22.62s.
Okagbare’s finest moment of 2014 was undoubtedly the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where she emerged as the outstanding athlete of the Games. She lived up to pre-championships expectations to win the 100m in a Games Record of 10.85s, before making it a double in the 200m in 22.25s.
She also helped the women’s 4x100m relay team to a silver medal finish in 42.92s. At the African Championships in Morocco, she regained her 100m title lost in 2012 by winning with another CR of 11.00s flat before anchoring the 4x100m relay team to a fifth back-to-back title in 43.65s!
The Sprints happen to be the most explosive events in Track and Field. Despite the absence of world record holder Usain Bolt from most top events in 2014, other sprinters (100m, 200m, 400m and hurdlers) did not disappoint as they raced their way into the history books and went on to win major Championships.
The 2014 sprinting season may have come and gone, but the indelible marks set by these sprinters are a sign for exciting things to come, in the way of more rivalries and records at the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympics!