Blessing Okagbare cruises to women’s 100m semifinals at Tokyo Olympics


Blessing Okagbare, of Nigeria, wins a heat in the women’s 100-meter run at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

TOKYO, JAPAN (KTSM) — Former UTEP track star, Blessing Okagbare, is in true Olympic form. Okagbare cruised to a first place finish in the women’s 100 meter prelims at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, advancing to Saturday’s semifinal.

Representing Nigeria and running out of lane seven in heat six, Okagbare successfully got out of the blocks and quickly took a lead she would not surrender. With the race well-in-hand, the former Miner pulled up in the last 25 meters and finished with a time of 11.05 seconds, which ranked ninth overall in the prelims. The first place finish in her individual heat automatically qualifies her for the semifinals.

Okagbare, 32, is no stranger to competing in the Olympics. She won a silver medal at 19-years-old in the 2008 Olympics in the long jump. In the 2012 Olympics, Okagbare qualified for the final in the women’s 100m, but was left off the podium. She failed to make the final for the event at the 2016 Olympics, but finished in eighth place in the women’s 4x100m relay.

The semifinals of the 100m will take place on Saturday at 4:15 a.m. MT. Should she qualify for the Final, it will take place on Saturday as well at 6:50 a.m. MT.

In addition to the 100m, Okagbare will compete in the women’s 200m and the women’s 4x100m relay for Nigeria.

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UTEP senior sprinter, Ned Azemia, competed in his second straight Olympics in the prelims of the men’s 400 meter hurdles. Representing Seychelles and running out of lane three, Azemia finished the race in 51.67 seconds.

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