Omanyala: I'm going for gold, but it will be lonely in Budapest

Ferdinand Omanyala celebrates winning the 100M men final race during the Trials for World Athletics Championship held at Nyayo National stadium in Nairobi on July 08, 2023.[Stafford Ondego, Standard]

African champion Ferdinand Omanyala lived up to his promise by destroying the 100m men's field at the Budapest World Championships trials that ended at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Saturday.

Africa's fastest man clocked 9.85 to win the last race of the two-day championships.

The Commonwealth Games champion was the only athlete who punched a ticket in 100m sprints for the worlds, a situation he predicted will make him lonely in the category in Hungary.

"It was a good race, it was a great run, looking at the weather today it was bit warm, but the chilly conditions on Friday slowed me down in the heats," Omanyala told Standard Sports.

"The work has now been cut out, we are going for nothing but gold in Budapest," he said.

He warned other world beaters that Hungary will not be their playing field anymore.

"I'm also a big wig, I have been playing with the big boys in the Diamond League series, I fear no one, let them watch out.

"In Hungary, I'm going to compete with the same guys I have been competing with in the Diamond League, and I have already seen some drop out of the race," he said.

Apart from his target for gold in Budapest, Omanyala has purposed to run 9.60, a dream he says is his ultimate target this season.

"I think I'm in a better position for that physically and mentally. I have been putting up a lot of work in the last three weeks and running 9.85 today was a bit of a surprise.

"I wasn't expecting that because I have been doing a lot of loading training. The time is a testament of good things to come, it means the 9.60 target is much closer," he said.

Omanyala is also proud that he has worked on his start which has seen him win a couple of 60m races this season.

"I'm already picking up speed earlier in the race, especially in the Diamond League, this is a good thing," he said.

Omanyala said he will use the forthcoming Diamond League series in Monaco to gauge his performance ahead of Budapest.

At the same time, Esther Mbagari of Kenya Prisons clocked 11.47 to win the women's 100 race which only had other two participants; Jacent Namahunge of Uganda who finished second in 11.54 and Eunice Kadogo who bagged third place in 11.73.

Unfortunately; none of the women made the 11.08 qualifying mark for the worlds.

"It was a great run, sadly I'm out of Budapest, unless I'm blessed with a wild card," said Mbagari.

"Nonetheless, I'm excited to win this race. Focus now turns to next year as I will be seeking to qualify for Paris 2024 Olympics," Mbagari said.

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