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Nigerian long jumper takes unlikely Olympic bronze

Nigerian long jumper takes unlikely Olympic bronze

Right place, right time. Right name, too.
Blessing Okagbare found out all about good fortune Friday night, winning the Olympic bronze medal in the long jump after being added to the final when another competitor was kicked out of the competition for doping.
The Nigerian made the most of her second chance, jumping a personal-best 22 feet, 8 inches (6.91 meters). Maurren Higa Maggi of Brazil won gold and Russia's Tatyana Lebedeva finished with the bronze.
"I'm the happiest woman here today on this track," Okagbare said.
After failing to advance out of the qualifying round, the 19-year-old figured her shot at a medal was completely wiped out.
But then the International Olympic Committee announced that Lyudmila Blonska of Ukraine tested positive for a steroid, and stripped Blonska of the Olympic heptathlon silver medal she earned last weekend.
Blonska also was removed from the long jump final, paving the way for Blessing's entrance into the field. Okagbare had finished 13th in qualifying, one spot removed from the final 12.
Blessing vowed to show that she belonged.
"When I came in today, I was sure I would place," Blessing said. "After the qualification, everyone was disappointed. Today, I knew I had to remove the shade from my eyes and do something."
Blessing's bronze-medal leap came on her first attempt of the finals. She couldn't improve on it, fouling on her last attempt.
That mattered little.
"It's the biggest moment of my life," she said.
Maggi, meanwhile, jumped a season-best 23-1 1/4 (7.04 meters), ending the reign of Lebedeva, the gold-medal winner at the Athens Olympics.
Lebedeva's last leap of the competition was just a half-inch off Maggi's winning jump.
"I saw the last attempt (and) I cried, 'Why, why, why?'" the Russian said. "Life will continue."
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AP Sports Writer Stephen Wilson contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-07-31 14:19 GMT+08:00