Paris Olympics: X-raying Favour Ofili as Nigeria's next chosen sprints star after Blessing Okagbare

Favour Ofili and Blessing Okagbare

Paris Olympics: X-raying Favour Ofili as Nigeria's next chosen sprints star after Blessing Okagbare

Funmilayo Fameso 12:07 - 14.04.2024

Usually it takes a while for a country to find another talent that can take over from a legendary athlete. But with Favor Ofili, Nigeria is favoured to have a next track star after Blessiing Okagbare.

Ever since her discovery in her early teen years, Favour Ofili has been a sprint phenom with a generational talent seen of Blessing Okagbare. So seeing her qualify for the Paris Olympic Games finally means she's ready to make the world her Oyster.

The 21-year-old clocked a legal 22.33s to win the women's 200m elite event at the Tom Jones Invitational - a time fast enough to punch her automatic ticket to Paris.

Favour Ofili // @LSUTrackField

By doing this, she became Nigeria's first female qualifier in the sprints, and definitely in that form to qualify in the 100m whenever she races next in the event.

Ofili's remarkable form this season has been nothing but mind-blowing. Starting the year with a 300m African Record (AR) of 35.99s to smash Amantle Montsho's 14-year-old previous time of 36.33s, was just a reminder that she's still in the conversation of running fast.

A few weeks later, she stormed to the second-fastest 100m season opener by a Nigerian athlete in history behind Okagbare, with a then-all conditions world lead of 10.85s - all these in her first season as a professional athlete.

Ofili's first three races so far have proven her readiness to rub shoulders with the big guns in the sprints world, make Diamond League debut and a series of European meets in preparation for the Olympic Games.

Her successes from youth to junior level, becoming an elite Nigerian sprinter as a teenager, and ending her college years as a standout speedster for Louisiana State University (LSU), are pointers to how she's succeeding Okagbare as the next sprints star from Nigeria.

For context, Ofili can comfortably do three events (100m, 200m, and 400m) like the former track queen (100m, 200m, and long jump), she is running faster at her age than Okagbare did, and now has an enterprising professional level to work for consistency against the world's best sprinters. 

Also, in terms of records, Ofili is the African indoor and outdoor record holder in the 200m event, the first African sprinter in history to go sub-22s, while Okagbare owns the National Record in the 100m with multiple global medals in her name.

Blessing Okagbare is the Nigerian Record holder in the women's 100m event

While Okagbare's accomplishments are rare of many sprinters known to have ever graced the track, Ofili is steadily climbing that ladder to become a household name globally as 'Nigeria's Star Girl' and live up to the expectations of one of the very few generational talents the track world has ever seen.

She conquered the youth, junior, and college levels with ease, and now that she's in line as one of the next highly-rated sprinters, the beautiful speed sensation will be gunning to win her first individual Olympic medal in Paris - a milestone that will see her begin her journey to greatness as a future sprints queen.