All eyes will be on Omanyala once again at Kip Keino Classic

Ferdinand Omanyala (centre) beat Americans Bracy Williams and Bednarek Kenneth in the 100m men finals during the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour Nairobi 2023 meet at Kasarani Stadium. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

100m Commonwealth Games champion Ferdinand Omanyala will once again be the centre of attraction at the Kip Keino Classic at Nyayo Stadium on April 20.

The World Athletics continental Tour will have the men’s 100m race as the main highlight and Omanyala will be hoping to emerge top once again despite facing still competition from the likes of USA's Kenneth Bednarek.

Omanyala is expected to once again stir the home crowd with his electrifying runs past the finish, ahead of other elite competitors. 

The African 100m champion boasts an impressive record at the World Continental Tour Gold event, beginning with 2021 when he made history at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani with a continental record of 9.77 on his way to a second-place finish. 

At last year’s edition at the same venue, Omanyala clocked 9.84 to win for the second successive time, ahead of Bednarek who finished second in 9.98. 

Although Kasarani has gained fame for its fast times, this year’s edition will be returning to Nyayo Stadium.

It wil not be al apart Omanyala for the Kenyan fans though as Mark Otieno will be hoping to make a mark at the Kip Keino Classic where he will be competing for the first time. 

The former 100m national record holder has bounced back impressively from a two-year doping ban and will be hoping to get close to his personal best of 10.05 which he set ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where he was unfortunately banned.

Just like Omanyala, he will be fueled by a partisan home crowd that will be keen to see one of their own shine on home soil. 

Such vociferous support may just be the extra push Otieno needs to make the podium place.

It will not be an easy run for Omanyala and Otieno though as Bednarek will want to beat the Kenyans in front of their fans. 

At his debut at the competition in 2022, the American clocked 10.15 in a disappointing sixth place finish. 

Bednarek has been in blazing form thus far this year, finishing first in the men’s 200m at the Miramar Invitation in Florida, United States, as well as first and third in the men’s 400m at the UCF Knights Invite and Pepsi Florida Relays. 

Another athlete to watch out for in the 100m is Cote d’Ivoire’s Arthur Cisse who will be making his debut at the Kip Keino Classic. 

Cisse is a well-travelled sprinter who has featured at top international competitions including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, All Africa Games, African Championships and Islamic Solidarity Games. 

As far as winning medals are concerned, his trophy cabinet boasts the 4x100m relay gold (2015 All Africa Games); 100m silver (2018 African Championships); and 4x100m relay silver (2018 and 2016 African Championships). 

With this record, it will be foolhardy not to bet on him muddying the waters as far as the script for this race is concerned. 

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