Ferdinand Omanyala explodes to season best

Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala celebrates after the 100m final during the Kip Keino Classic-World Athletics Continental Tour 2021 at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on September 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Africa 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala gave Kenyans another night to remember on Wednesday as 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, who holds the Africa record at 9.77 seconds set the Kip Keino Classic meet at Kasarani Stadium, won the 100m race in a season best mark of 9.98 seconds.

Simbine, who is also 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 chalked up a win in 200m.

The battle brought back memories of 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.

Last month, Omanyala was simply the meet’s showstopper as he set a world leading time in 100m during the third leg of Athletics Kenya track and field meeting at Nyayo Stadium.

Omanyala, who made it to the semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympic Games, posted an impressive 10.0 seconds in 100m on the final day of the third leg of Athletics Kenya track and field meeting.

He pulled a fast one on Samuel Meya (10.36), Stephen Oluoch (10.55), Hesbon Ochieng (10.56), Robinson Motende (10.71), Stephen Onyango (10.77) and Tyson Juma (10.86).

Omanyala said the world indoor meetings helped him sharpen his speed.

“The world indoor meetings have been quite helpful. Imagine doing 60 metres at six seconds is no mean feat. I now want to prepare for World Athletics Championships (set for Eugene, Oregon in USA on July 15-27),” he said..

Omanyala also put the world record mark of 9.58 seconds held by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in his crosshairs.

“I long to run fast times this season…even I can attempt the world record. It is possible. The world record is still on my sight. It is possible.

“I had set a sub 10 for this competition. I don’t compete against people but time I set. I wanted to control the race from the start. I need a title...I have an African title. Let’s see what happens. I am picking on well. Nothing is impossible and hope for a good championships,” he said.

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