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Ajunwa’s 7.12m jump is 'still Africa's best'

12 May 2013, 07:38

Lagos - Neisima Omatseye, the Technical Director, Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), on Saturday said that Chioma Ajunwa’s Atlanta ‘96 long jump record of 7.12m remained Africa’s and Nigeria’s best.

Omatseye was reacting to Blessing Okagbare’s jump of 7.14m on Friday at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Diamond League holding in Doha, Qatar.

The director told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone that since Okagbare’s jump was wind assisted with about +2.2m, it could not be ratified as a national record.

"Her jump was wind assisted thus; it cannot be ratified by AFN as a national record.

Omatseye, however, added that Okagbare’s record was an improvement from her 6.88m jump in Beijing, where she won bronze.

He added that in spite of that, the AFN was glad with Okagbare’s recent performance at the IAAF, saying he hoped the athlete would improve on her  record at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The director said he believed that it was just a matter of time before Ajunwa’s record would be broken.

Rotimi Obajimi, an IAAF lecturer, applauded Okagbare for her achievement for improving on her previous record in 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"I had believed that she will concentrate on long jump and ignore sprints, but why she did not, I do not understand.

"Because I believe she would have passed the record a long time ago.

"It is a good development that she now knows her strong point, whether wind assisted or not it is a good result,” he said.

Tunde Suleiman, a long jump coach, said that whether it was wind assisted or not it was the best long jump record in Africa and worthy of commendation. .

He said that if she could achieve a 7.14m with the aid of the wind she could do better.

"Okagbare is capable of jumping better because it depends on her level of preparation and composure which I believe she can achieve,” Suleiman said.

Tina Iheagwam, 1987 All Africa Games 100m gold medalist, said the performance showed that Okagbare was focusing on her strength.

The retired athlete said that if Okagbare could continually improve, she could win  a medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

"If she and other elite athletes improve on their performances then may be Nigeria will be medals hopeful in Rio de Janeiro,” she said.

The 2013 IAAF Diamond League kicked off on Friday at the Hamad Bin Suhaim Stadium, Doha.


Tags athletics

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