Blessing Okagbare: Tears stop, training begins
WEEPING AND WAILING AND MOURNING AND GNASHING OF TEETH was a popular track by the Mighty Diamonds in the 1980s. The title of the Mighty Diamond's album is Right Time.
That song captured the mood of Nigerians here after the 100m final in the ongoing 14th edition of the World Championships on Monday night.
Blessing Okagbare, the brightest Nigerian athlete for now has been the face of the Nigerian sports from the Beijing Olympics in 2008 to the last games in London and to the ongoing World Championships. She shoulders the weight of the country and when she failed in London, it amounted to Nigeria's failure. BAD for a country of 160 million.
She wiped away the London sorrow with a silver medal here in the Long Jump but badly wanted a great show in the 100m, the more glamorous event.
She ran good races before the Moscow games, even beating Olympic champion Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce in London three weeks ago and setting African record in the process. She ran 10.79 seconds.
But on Monday she could not re-enact her pre-games effort in the 100m and dropped to the 6th position. Nigerians at home gnashed their teeth, officials and coaches here mourned and Blessing simply anchored the sorrow by some pathetic weeping and wailing that touched everybody here.
It was a night of disappointment, anger, frustration, regret and pity, a paradox of some sort. Blessing cried all night. But so determined to make Nigeria proud, she went back to train about four hours after the 100m disappointment.
She trained at night and that amazed all officials including the sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi who appears overwhelmed by her patriotism and determination to win more medals for Nigeria. However, after training, Blessing continued weeping. But the good news now is that she has stopped crying and training strongly to make a good show in the 200m that starts on Thursday.
"Blessing has stopped crying," Ogba said yesterday evening. "It was good she cried out her feelings. She is in good shape and things will unfold. God gave us and we need to be grateful and thank Him for that achievement. The Long Jump affected her but now she is back," Ogba said.
And now that Blessing has stopped crying, it is perhaps the right time to wipe away the disappointment of the 100m with another medal in the 200m.
Two medals in one World Championships will be a record in Nigeria and a performance that will make her celebrate and dance like the queen the group, Abba described in their song DANCING QUEEN. Yes, Blessing's dance steps may produce the sound louder than her wailing. Another medal can create that.