Series21 Apr 2014

Work, rest and play – Blessing Okagbare


Blessing Okagbare celebrates her win (© Getty Images)

Blessing Okagbare secured long jump silver and 200m bronze at the 2013 IAAF World Championships during an outstanding season.

The versatile Nigerian, who will compete in the first IAAF Diamond League meeting of the year in Doha, answers our work, rest and play questions.


What is your favourite training session?

Blessing Okagbare: My favourite training session is practising my long jump approach and working on my jumping technique because jumping happens to be one of my favourite things. I enjoy and love every moment of those sessions.

What is your least favourite training session?

BO: For sure, running around the track is my least favourite session. I know these sessions reap rewards in the long run, but they are so tiring.

What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

BO: One of my favourite things about being an athlete is having the opportunity to showcase my talent. Another is having that ability to serve your country and, thirdly, I enjoy meeting other people from different parts of the world.

What is your all-time favourite training venue?

BO: That will be the college I graduated from (University of Texas, El Paso) because there were so many people there that gave me the chance to grow.

Do you have a favourite type of music to train to?

BO: As much as I love music, I really do not train to music.


Where is your favourite place to relax?

BO: My house because I can be extremely free to do whatever I want.

Describe your perfect non-training day.

BO: A perfect non-training day will be waking up at 9am to eat a lovely breakfast. I will then go back to bed for another three hours, get up, take a shower, and then glue myself to the TV while texting family and friends. I would then go to bed late.

Which track and field athlete would you choose to spend a day relaxing with?

BO: That would be Jaysuma Saidy Ndure (the Norwegian sprinter who won a 100m bronze medal at the 2012 European Championships). He happens to be someone I can talk to. He might not say the things I always want to hear, but he does have a way of making my day.

What is your favourite meal?

BO: White rice with palm oil stew – lovely. I’m not an individual that eats a lot and I am a picky eater, but with that meal I get to eat a lot.

What is your all-time favourite movie?

BO: The Lord of the Rings. That movie seems new every time I watch it. I never get bored of it.

What is your favourite music to relax to?

BO: Slow gospel music because it revives me.


How often do you sing and which artist does your voice most sound like?

BO: I sing all the time. While in bed, taking a shower, cooking, cleaning and so on.

What qualities make a good singer?

BO: As a singer you should have the talent, good education from taking lessons, stamina, discipline, perseverance, a musical ear, a strong drive to succeed, creativity and a resilient personality.

What has been your proudest singing performance?

BO: I really do not sing professionally but I do sing in my church choir. I may not have the best voice but I sing good enough to praise the name of God.

If you could pick one athlete to sing a duet with, who would it be?

BO: Jason Richardson (2011 world 110m hurdles champion). Some of the songs I love today he actually got me into them. He is an amazing singer.

Who is your favourite singer to listen to?

BO: Jonathan McReynolds (a US gospel singer). His songs really inspire me

Are there any skills you have learned as a track and field athlete that have helped your singing?

BO: Perseverance, discipline and the drive to excel. I try to remind myself each day that it is not easy but someday it will be worth it, so I keep pushing. Also when I am trying to learn a new song and it seem really hard, I persist until I get it right.

Steve Landells for the IAAF