The Olympic track and field competition begins on Friday with all eyes on Jamican sprint sensation Usain Bolt.
Africa’s fastest woman Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure (10.78) is expected to pose a major challenge for Fraser-Pryce and Bowie in the sprint double – along with Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare.
Okagbare, who won gold in the 100m and 200m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow two years ago, will represent Nigeria in the women’s sprint double and 4x100m relay, as well as long jump.
The 27-year-old Sapele-born multi-talented athlete will look to climb onto the medal table in Rio after missing out on medals in all her events at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Okagbare, who won bronze in long at the Beijing 2008 olympics, ran 11.01 to come last the women’s 100m final of London 2012. Ann Fraser-Pryce won the title with a time of 10.75.
United States’ Carmelita Jeter ran 10.78 to take silver while veteran Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown picked bronze with 10.81.
Nigeria will feature athletes in the men/women’s 100m and 200m, men’s 110m hurdles, women’s 100m hurdles, men/women 400m hurdles, women’s long, women’s high jump, women’s discuss and men/women shot put.
Others are men’s triple jump, women’s heptathlon and women’s 4x100m.
Nigeria will be represented in the women’s 100m by Okagbare, Gloria Asumnu and Peace Uko.
National champion Seye Ogunlewe will represent Nigeria in the men’s 100m alongside Divine Oduduru and Ogho-Oghene Egwero. Tosin Oke will feature in the men’s triple jump while will take part in the women’s high jump.
Ten days of competition in Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Stadium get under way with officials keen to draw a line under a miserable 12 months which has left the athletics’ image languishing at an all-time low, according to AFP.
As ever, it will be left to track and field’s greatest showman, Bolt, to restore the feel-good factor as the sport attempts to turn the page on the Russian doping scandal and corruption allegations.
In his last Olympics, Jamaican star Bolt is gunning for 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay gold after sweeping the titles in 2008 and 2012.
The first leg of Bolt’s “Treble Treble” quest gets under way on Saturday, with the opening heats of the 100m before the final on Sunday.
“As a young kid you grow up looking forward to the big games,” Bolt told AFP. “Championships are what matters. This is what I do.”