Okagbare soars to World lead, new mark at Texas Relays

Submitted by Yomi Omogbeja on 3 April 2010 - 10:18am

Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare, a senior from University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) blew away the field in the women's Long Jump to set a new mark and Myers stadium record on Friday at the 83rd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Okagbare, a bronze medalist in the long jump at the 2008 Olympics, soared to a World leading height of 6.88 metres - three centimetres shy of her career best 6.91metres that earned her the bronze in Beijing 2008.

After the leap with a legal tailwind of 1.9 metres per second, the Sapele born athlete did not even bother to stick around for the final two rounds of the competition as she went to the team hotel shortly after her fourth and final jump of the six-round competition.

When asked how she felt about her performance, Okagbare said It's "Not bad".

"I was happy with it. I was expecting to do something like that. I just need to save some energy for tommorrow (Saturday)."

"The weather was kind of weird today. I was kind of surprised the jump was legal. But when they said [the wind was] `1.9,' I was like, `OK, fine.'"

Brigham Young's Mindy McClurkin was second with 6.43m while Texas' Chantel Malone was third with a wind-aided outdoor career-best of 6.41m

Okagbare is undefeated as a senior in both indoor and outdoor competition this season. At the recent NCAA indoor championships, she became the first female athlete in UTEP's illustrious track and field history to win two titles in the same national meet, when she won the long jump and 60m dash.

Kebba Tolbert, UTEP's jumps coach reacting to Okagbare breaking the Texas Relays record was elated: "I was telling her there's lots and lots of great athletes who have long jumped here at the Texas Relays.

"To break the record here is something pretty special," Tolbert said.

Today Okagbare anchors UTEP's 4x100m relay team, made up of her Nigerian compatriots Gladys Nwaubani and Endurance Abinuwa, with American Siobhian Crain, which posted the seventh-fastest qualifying time Friday (45.55 seconds) and is entered in the invitational 100m dash.

Her goals this season, she says, are to exceed seven metres in the long jump and hit 10.8 seconds in the 100m.

Friday - Women Long Jump Results

  1 Okagbare, Blessing        SR UTEP                     6.88mS  1.9  22-07.00
6.41m(1.4) FOUL(2.5) 6.88m(1.9) 6.46m(1.4) PASS PASS

2 McClurkin, Mindy SR BYU 6.43m 2.1 21-01.25
FOUL(1.9) 6.15m(2.1) 6.25m(1.9) 6.43m(2.1) 6.40m(2.0) 6.29m(3.1)

3 Malone, Chantel JR Texas 6.41m 1.8 21-00.50
6.37m(2.9) 6.31m(2.0) 6.21m(2.1) 6.23m(1.7) 6.41m(1.8) 6.37m(2.5)

4 Gipson, Whitney SO TCU 6.31m 2.2 20-08.50
6.31m(2.2) 6.27m(1.8) 6.06m(2.0) FOUL(1.5) 6.31m(1.9) 6.24m(1.3)

5 Copeland, Wendy SR Mississippi St. 6.28m 2.8 20-07.25
6.08m(1.4) 6.08m(2.1) 6.00m(2.8) 6.00m(1.3) 6.28m(2.8) 6.08m(1.7)

6 Harris, Amy SO Florida State 6.21m 1.2 20-04.50
6.21m(1.2) 6.12m(2.4) 4.81m(1.9) FOUL(1.6) 6.07m(2.4) FOUL(2.7)

6 Ogbourne, Melissa JR LSU 6.21m 1.6 20-04.50
6.00m(1.2) 6.03m(1.4) 6.21m(1.6) 5.62m(2.4) 6.00m(2.3) FOUL(1.9)

8 Covington, Neidra SR TCU 6.13m 2.2 20-01.50
5.69m(1.6) 6.13m(2.2) 6.07m(1.4) 5.90m(2.3) 6.13m(2.3) FOUL(3.2)