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Omanyala hopes his Tokyo 2020 performance will inspire Kenyan sprinters

ATHLETICS By Xinhua | August 5th 2021
Ferdinand Omanyala celebrate 800mts men race at AK trials second series at Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday, Jan 23, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenyan Olympic sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala hopes his performance at Tokyo 2020 will inspire his young compatriots to take up short-distance running.

Omanyala made history in Japan on Monday when he became the first Kenyan to run in the semifinals of the men's 100m at an Olympics where he lowered his own national record from 10.01 to 10.00.

He finished third in the first semi and could not qualify for Tuesday's final via the two-fastest losers' route.

"I'm happy to get back to the country and the love from the family and the country is just overwhelming," Omanyala, who has become a local sensation since qualifying from Tokyo, told reporters upon his arrival in Nairobi on Wednesday.

"I'm so humbled that Kenyans have appreciated athletics and sprints because of him. I am glad he has made Kenya become known for sprints," his spouse Lavenda Omanyala, also a sprinter, said while welcoming her husband back home.

Omanyala equalled his national record of 10.02 on July 31 on the day news broke that his fellow men's 100m sprinter Mark Otieno, had been kicked out of Tokyo 2020.

Otieno was provisionally suspended after his urine A-sample tested positive for a banned anaerobic steroid and Team Kenya has since requested a test of his B-Sample.

In the semis, he beat among others, Jamaican Daegu 2011 world champion Yohan Blake, his role model who was making his final appearance at the Olympics.

Besides Omanyala, the women's Kenya 7s team also arrived from Japan where they finished ninth.

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