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Kip Keino Classic: I have conquered Africa, next is the World record, Omanyala

ATHLETICS By Ochieng Oyugi | September 19th 2021
Sprinters Justin Gatlin (Left) of USA and Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya during The Kip Keino Classic-World Athletics Continental Tour 2021 Media Interviews at Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi on September17, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

It is now clear that the new Kenyan sprint sensation Ferdinand Omanyala is destined for greatness.

This follows his meteoric performance at Moi International Sports Center Kasarani in Nairobi on Saturday evening.

Cheered by His Excellency President Kenyatta and other government dignitaries, Omanyala brought the roof down by beating the dreaded US and former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin.

He clocked 9.77 to set a new African Record in the show stopper event.

This means he is now the fastest human in Africa.

President Uhuru Kenyatta embraces Sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala as Sports CS Amb. Amina Mohamed during The Kip Keino Classic-World Athletics Continental Tour 2021 at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on September18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

He takes over from Akani Simbine of South Africa who held the continental record on 9.84.

Omanyala also smashed the National Record, for the fifth time with the feat.

He also lowered his Personal Best with the achievement.

He now ranks fifth in the all-time list of sprinters in the globe.

"I have conquered Africa, next I'm going for the World record," Omanyala told Standard Sports.

The 28-year old said it will take time to sink in that he is the new continental champion.

"I wasn't sure I was going to run faster at the start of the race, but I kept going and picked up momentum 50m halfway," he explained.

"I'm happy to close the season with a personal best, I'm going to train more harder to start the next from that level," said Omanyala.

Omanyala was happy to compete among some of the world's greats including Gatlin who came a distant third in 10.03 and

Trayvon Bromell who won the race in 9.76.

"I promised my fans a good show and I'm happy I delivered," said Omanyala.

"I'm happy a few spectators came here to watch me and I did not lower their expectations."

Ageless Gatlin said he will take along break to decide on his future after the defeat.

From Left; Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, and USA Travon Bramwell and Justin Gatlin battle in 100m final during The Kip Keino Classic-World Athletics Continental Tour 2021 at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on September18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

He tipped Omanyala to be a world future champion saying: "He used the hometown support really well. I believe Omanyala will be a force to reckon with."

Ahead of the adrenaline-filled race, Omanyala, who made the semifinals of the event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics had stated he wanted to beat the US great Gatlin.

 In the end, it came down to himself and Brommel as Gatlin fizzled out.

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