Despite the crisis brewing in Team Nigeria’s camp in Tokyo, the duo of Blessing Okagbare and Nzubechi Nwokocha qualified for the Women’s 100 metres semifinals on Friday in Tokyo, Japan.
Nwokocha had to run a new personal best of 11.00 seconds to secure her qualification to the semifinals in her debut at the Games.
The 20-year old has also moved into fifth in the Nigeria all-time list behind Okagbare (10.79), Glory Alozie (10.90) Mary Onyali (10.97) and Damola Osayomi (10.99).
The home-based athlete who ran 11.09 seconds to secure her qualification for the Olympics in March at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos will, however, need to make further history by breaking the 11 seconds barrier as the fifth Nigerian woman to do so to stand a chance of joining Onyali and Okagbare as debutants who ran all the way to the final of the event.
She has been drawn to run from lane nine in the third semifinal heat with the fastest woman alive, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Daryl Neita of Great Britain, Teahna Daniels of the USA and fellow African, Muriel Ahoure of Ivory Coast.
While Nwokocha qualified for her first semifinal, Okagbare will be running in her third since she made her debut in the event at the 2012 Olympics in London.
The 32-year-old ran 11.05 seconds to win her first round heat.
The Women’s 100 metres final is slated to hold tomorrow Saturday at 1:50pm Nigeria time.