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World Athletics Championships: Omanyala says he has what it takes to make history in Oregon

African 100m men's record holder Ferdinand Omanyala plants a tree at Kasarani Stadium, on June 25. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The clock is ticking. And global athletics enthusiasts are waiting with bated breath for Africa 100m record holder, Ferdinand Omanyala to make history –as the first Kenyan to strike a medal in 100m at the World Athletics Championships.

The nation is no doubt pregnant with expectations. When the African cock crows, Omanyala will win a medal at the World Championships that start at Hayward Field inside University of Oregon, Eugene, in USA on Friday. Kenyan ancestors are waiting!

Not only is he Africa’s fastest man, he is also the inspiration for a new wave of sprinters in Kenya.

And Omanyala has vowed to stop any aggression.

“My friend, I am ready for it. Be assured of a medal. That is a guarantee. I am heading to the World Championships with confidence. I have competed with most of the top 100m athletes and know very well on how to tackle them," he said.

“I have sharped my take-off skills. This is my moment to do something special for this nation,” Omanyala said yesterday.

It has been the norm that USA, Jamaica and the Caribbean region provide talking points in every Olympic year or World Athletics Championships season in sprint races.

But the script is different this time round thanks to Omanyala, the Africa 100m champion and continental record holder over the distance.

He has certainly changed World Athletics charts. Against huge odds and just days to the World Athletics Championships, Omanyala basks in a world leading time of 9.85 seconds –what with a personal best of 9.77 seconds!

But will he beat Usain Bolt’s 100m record?

“I long to run fast times this season…even I can attempt the world record. It is possible. The world record is still in my sights,” he said.

In April, Omanyala gave Kenyans a night to remember when he set a new season best at the ASA Athletics Grand Prix 4 inside Germiston Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

It was a night that started off with huge expectations. And the clash between him and homeboy Akani Simbine, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, was simply breathtaking.

Omanyala won the 100m race in a season best mark of 9.98 seconds. Simbine, who was then the Africa champion, returned second in 10.11 seconds ahead of Bradley Nkaona, another homeboy, who checked in third in 10.38 seconds. Omanyala also triumphed in 200m.

The battle brought back memories of the 2021 Kip Keino Classic meet when Omanyala finished second in 9.77 seconds to slap a new mark on Simbine’s then Africa record of 9.84 seconds.

Omanyala and Simbine clashed for the first time at the Diamond League meeting inside King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels last year. Omanyala came fourth in 10.02 while Simbine finished sixth in 10.18.

Omanyala made it to the semi finals at the Tokyo Olympic Games, last year.