Blessing Okagbare, Nwokocha qualifies for the semi-finals of the 100m in Tokyo
Blessing Okagbare and Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha qualified from their respective heats Friday in Tokyo, Japan, and will compete in the semifinals of the women’s 100m for the first time since 2012.
In her first appearance at the Games, Nwokocha had to run a new personal best of 11.00 seconds to qualify for the semifinals.
The 20-year-old is now sixth all-time in Nigeria, after Okagbare (10.79), Glory Alozie (10.90), Mary Onyali (10.97), and Damola Osayomi (10.97). (10.99).
The home-based athlete, who qualified for the Olympics in March by running 11.09 seconds at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos, will need to make more history by breaking the 11-second barrier as the fifth Nigerian woman to do so to join Onyali and Okagbare as debutants who made it all the way to the final.
She will compete in the third semifinal heat from lane nine, alongside the fastest woman alive, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Daryl Neita of the United Kingdom, Teahna Daniels of the United States, and Muriel Ahoure of the Ivory Coast.
While Nwokocha will be competing in her maiden semifinal, Okagbare will be competing in her third since her debut in the event at the 2012 London Olympics. The 32-year-old won her first round heat in 11.05 seconds.
She’ll compete in the first semifinal heat alongside two of the event’s heavyweights: defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica, who won her first round heat in 10.82 seconds, and Dina Asher-Smith of the United Kingdom, who finished second in her first round heat in 11.07 seconds.
On Saturday at exactly 11.15 a.m. Nigerian time, the 2008 Beijing Olympics Long Jump silver medalist will compete.