Mary Onyali is regarded as the best athlete to come out of Nigeria, extending to all African female sprinters. She is and will be fondly recollected as that athlete who never gave up; when her contemporaries were calling the offs, she was making the shots.
Onyali's record of a first Olympic medal in the Barcelona 1992 games puts her out as the foundation for every other female runner that came after her, including Blessing Okagbare
Onyali laid the groundwork, the new ones are now watering it.
Blessing Okagbare shot into the limelight not as a sprinter, but over the years, she has become a monumental glory to athletics in Nigeria and Africa.
Born in Sapele on October 9, 1988, Okagbare started with football; with a beautiful physique that would put her away as aman without her hair, she took to Athletics on the advise of weel meaning elders who saw the future that the young teenager could not see at that time.
She'd have them to thank if she looked at her achievement sheets and marvel at how much she has done as a 25 year-old beautiful, young and inspiring woman.
Okagbare is barely a decade in the sports and she has achieved way more than any of her contemporaries can ever imagine
She has made and unmade records, shattered and built hopes of some other young women.
Okagbare and Onyali are track and field athletes; one laid the foundation, the other is watering it
25 year-old Okagbare has done more than any other Nigerian female athlete, even the male if compared
The two women are referred as the African track queens and this is no lie, considering their records
Mary Onyali, All through her career, she has won , and ; featuring in , and all through a career that spanned close to 3 decades.
Blessing Okagbare in her first decade of competting as an athlete has won , , and , appearing in two Olympics already, Two Commonwealth Games and other major championships. Onyali is retired while Blessing has more years on her side
Now regarded the African track queen, Okagbare blazed to another Gold medal in the 2014 African Athletics Championship on August 11 in Marakech, Morocco.
Okagbare is the current fastets woman in Africa and the fourth woman in the world to win a double in the Commonwealth, which she obviously is the first African.
They may be incomparable, being their eras did not meet, but the statistics, now and later are in favour of 25 year-old Blessing Okagbare.We hope she remains relevant after two decades.