Series12 Jan 2015

Personal bests – Blessing Okagbare


Blessing Okagbare wins the 200m at the 2014 Commonwealth Games (© Getty Images)

The 2013 IAAF World Championships long jump silver medallist and 2014 Commonwealth Games and African Championships 100m winner Blesssing Okagbare is among the world's most versatile athletes.

Here the Nigerian superstar offers an insight into all the best aspects of her life as an elite athlete.

My best achievement:

I would say winning the 100m title at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. it was huge for me. I pick that one because the level of my performance was quite different to any other major 100m final in my career. It is so much about that moment. It felt so easy and it was a great feeling. (Blessing won in a season's best 10.85 and finished the year joint second on the 2014 100m world list).

My best piece of coaching advice:

It is from my first coach, Calvin Robinson, at UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso). He said that I am blessed with so much talent but that I don't even know it yet. He said, “keep pushing and no matter what happens you have to believe you are always going to be a champion and a great athlete. If you keep pushing, your time will come.” He was right.

My greatest rival:

Because I triple (compete in the 100m, 200m and long jump) this is a tough answer. At this point, I'm more of a sprinter than a jumper, but if we are talking long jump I would say Brittney Reese. During the years when long jump was my main focus, Brittney was the one athlete consistently able to beat me. I cannot really say I have gone head-to-head with any one sprinter, but if I had to pick out one I would say Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

My best friend in athletics:

I don't have any great friends in track and field.

My best venue:

Monaco and Crystal Palace in London. I just love the Palace so much. The crowd is amazing and it is so much fun. I also love the crowd environment in Monaco. I relax, compete and have fun every time I go to Monaco.

My best haircut athlete:

The blonde look in 2014. I just wanted to do something a little different something that would stand out and people would ask, “Who is that with the blonde hair?” Well, it helped me stand me out from the crowd and I got a great response from the public. 

My biggest indulgence:

It is music. I don't sing as a professional but I enjoy listening to music so much. In fact, 80 per cent of the music inspires me in every area of my life, especially when it comes to track.

My biggest disappointment:

The 2012 Olympics and the 100m final (she was eighth). My goals and what I wanted to achieve didn't meet my expectations. A lot of people were really disappointed. I thought I was going to do really well, but it didn't turn out the way I expected.

My best achievement outside of athletics:

My husband (former Nigerian international footballer Igho Otegheri, who Blessing married in 2014). He is the main person in my life and he is special to me. He loves me and understands me, and he is everything I would want in a man. He is my greatest achievement.  

Steve Landells for the IAAF

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