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Omanyala takes on Africa champion Simbine today

Ferdinand Omanyala dash to finish line in 100m race during Kipkeino Classic-World Continental tour gold in Nairobi. May 7, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Abraham Longosiwa opened Kenya’s medal count, winning bronze in men’s 10,000m final as Ferdinand Omanyala booked a date with reigning African champion Akani Simbine in today’s final at the ongoing Athletics Championships in Mauritius.

A total of 500 athletes from 41 countries are taking part in the 22nd edition of the Championships, which started yesterday and ends on Sunday at Cote d’Or National Sports Complex in Reduit.

Longosiwa finished third behind Mogos Tuemay Abrha who led 1-2 finish for Ethiopia with Chimdesa Debela taking silver medal.

Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala sailed into the final after clocking 10.7 in his semifinal race as athletes set to jostle for continental title. 

Omanyala is the top entry for the men’s 100m at the five-day event and holder of the African record as well as world lead of 9.85s he timed at the Kip Kieno Classic in May.

He will now meet the defending African champion, Simbine. The South African has not had the best of the season so far as he boasts a season’s best of 10.06s he clocked at the Ostrava Golden Spike last week.

Others set for and epic duel in 100 race are Emanuel Eseme of Cameroon and South African Henricho Bruintjies.

“I’m satisfied with my two races, heats and semis, now focus shifts tomorrow (today). At the moment I’m not concerned about my opponents, it’s just the finish line for me,” said Omanyala. 

National champion Maximilla Imali also sailed into the finals, after finishing third in 11.26 seconds. She will now face South African Carina Horn, Nigerian Godbless Tima, Seyni Moumouni of Niger and Gina Bass of Gambia.

Kenya’s policewomen Veronica Mutua and Jacinta Shikanda sprinted their way to today’s women’s 400m semis after finishing first and fourth in their respective heats.

Mutwa stormed into her heat victory in 52.97 ahead of Asimenye Simwaka (53.27) of Mayawi with Precious Molepo of South Africa finishing third.

Shikanda, running in heat one timed 54.73 seconds in fourth place to qualify for the semis with small ‘q’. South African Miranda Coetze won the heat in 52.1 ahead of Zambian Niddy Mingilishy who registered 52.21 seconds. Ethiopia’s Duguma Tsige was third in 54.43.

Collins Omae, William Rayan booked their slot in today’s men’s 400m semifinal after finishing third in their fourth and fifth heats respectively.

Omae timed 47.60 in a race won by Namibian Alexander Bock who crossed the line in 46.49 ahead of Sikiru Adeyemi of Nigeria who clocked 46.73 seconds.

Rayan timed 46.80 to finish fourth to secure an automatic qualification. The heat was won by Patrick Kakozi of Zambia who returned 46.68 ahead of Frederic Mendy (46.78) of Senegal.

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In another battle today, former world U20 5,000m champion Beatrice Chebet will lead Caroline Nyaga and Nesphine Jepleting in medal hunt in women’s 5,000m final.

Maximilla Imali, Monica Safania, Eunice Kadogo, Millicent Ndoro and Mercy Chebet will compete in the women’s 4x100m heats.

The men’s corresponding 4x100 will have Ferdinand Omanyala, Samuel Imeta, Dennis Otieno, Dan Kiviasi and Hesbon Ochieng.