Bednarek confident ahead of showdown with Omanyala

American sprinter Kenneth Bednarek. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Ferdinand Omanyala is in trouble! This was the declaration made by Olympics 200m silver medallist Kenneth Bednarek of USA when he jetted into the country on Thursday.

The American sprint sensation will take on Africa's fastest man and Commonwealth champion Omanyala in the star-studded men's 100m showdown in the fifth edition of Absa Kip Keino Classic at the Nyayo Stadium today.

The world silver medallist is very optimistic of victory, going by his peerless form that has seen him bag a couple of races in the new season.

"I'm glad to be back (in Kenya), I'm excited for this week. I'm ready to take on Omanyala and the other competitors, and to have some fun too," Bednarek underlined.

Among the contests Bednarek has won this season include the 200m at the Miramar Invitation in Florida, United States, as well as finishing first and third in the men’s 400m at the UCF Knights Invite and Pepsi Florida Relays, respectively.

"Last season was very low for me, I struggled to stay afloat, but this year I'm healthy. I have had a few races which I competed in pretty well. I'm in great shape now, I'm expecting big things for this race (Kip Keino Classic)," he highlighted.

Today's showpiece will also involve other world beaters including Arthur Cisse of Ivory Coast who won 200m silver in his debut at the Kip Keino Classic in 2020 and Kenya's Mark Otieno who is looking for redemption in the category he once dominated nationally.

"Going for gold has always been the mission at the Kip Keino Classic. Like I say, this year I'm pretty healthy, I have started off the season very strong and by the time I get to the trials (for Olympics) the goal will be just to execute and win, same as the Kip Keino Classic where I'm out to get the glittering gold. Right now I have the potential and the strength to strike it, and all that matters is just to do it now," said Bednarek.

While assessing his opponents in the looming 100m showdown at Nyayo, Bednarek ranked Omanyala very highly, terming the defending champion a worthy rival to take head on in the race.

Nonetheless, he is not underrating any of his opponents in the expected cutthroat duel.

"It's too early in the season, but Omanyala is still the real deal. He is a competitor and I know he is going to be ready no matter what.

"So every time I step on that track, I want to give it my all because you never know what anyone can pull for a victory," Bednarek said.

When asked his opinion about the annual Kip Keino Classic, Bednarek stated: "I love this competition, I like the Kenyan atmosphere, I come back here every single year because I know they always plan a good show, the track is fast, the fans are great and the Kenyan culture is just out of this world. So, I'll just keep on coming here to see Nairobi and enjoy Kenya as it lasts."

Besides looking forward to the Kip Keino victory, Bednarek's other game plan for the season is to convert his Tokyo Olympics silver into gold in Paris

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