Was it false start to Omanyala's season at Kip Keino Classic meet?

Bednarek Kenneth celebartes winning the 100m race during the Absa Kip Keino Classic -World Continental Tour Gold Nairobi 2024 at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on April 20, 2024. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The atmosphere was very tense.The rains started. No one was moved, everyone braved the cold, soaked in the beauty and splendor of chilling drops from the skies.

They waited with baited breath, just for one man- Africa's fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala to do his thing.

Bang! The starter pistol went off, but it was a false start. This only increased the tension, the star-studded line up who were looking for glory in the race almost had their knees cave in.

The starter gun was sounded again, adrenaline rose, and off they went. The crowd cheered madly. Omanyala!Omanyala! Then the cheers faded as fast as they started- even before the 10 seconds dash was over.

Omanyala was beaten to fifth place. American sprint sensation, Kenneth Bednarek had carried the day in the fifth edition of Absa Kip Keino Classic men's 100m finals held at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Saturday.

It seems Bednarek had studied Omanyala's mind, he was so sure of striking the gold even before the race, his confidence was oozing.

His victory left everyone in the stadium dejected, despite having such a splendid afternoon where records were shattered while others tumbled.

The fans left the stadium with their tails coiled in between their legs, because this particular race is what brought them to the holy sports cathedral.

What could have happened to Omanyala?

Many went home with this question nagging and lingering in their minds.

Has he laxed on his mental strength? Could the recent social media shenanigans on his relationship taken a toll? What the heck is happening to Omanyala?

From a two time defending Kip Keino Classic champion to a distant fifth place finish. Quite unbelievable, but so true.

While explaining his poor show at Nyayo at the weekend, Omanyala said: "These races humble you at some point. We are approaching this season in a different way. We are building up the 100m as we go deep into the season."

"I don't want to pick too early in the season and then go down before August. We want to make sure that we correct everything before August.

"My target at the World Relay Championships in Bahamas is to make sure 4x100m team goes to the Olympics."

It is worth admitting that Omanyala has played his part in the sprints. His passion has enabled many to embrace the category.

His potential has put Kenya on the continental and global map.

And just like international fans who used to throng the worlds and the Olympics to watch Usain Bolt in 100m, many spectators came far and wide to grace Kip Keino Classic editions just to watch him.

2024 Absa Kip Keino selected sprints results 

Men's 100m results 

1.BEDNAREK Kenneth USA 9.91

2.MATADI Emmanuel LBR 9.99

3.AZU Jeremiah GBR 10.00

4.ALI Chituru ITA 10.01

5.OMANYALA Ferdinand KEN 10.03

6.ODHIAMBO Mark Otieno KEN 10.22

7.CAMEL Dorian USA 10.33

8.CISSE Arthur CIV 10.48

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