Dafanews Kenya

Dafanews Kenya

Kenya’s 9.77 sprinter targeting African 100m title

Athletics   |   May 10, 2022


Ferdinand Omanyala is determined to become just the second Kenyan man to be crowned African 100m champion. The African record holder ran a world-leading time this year of 9.85 seconds on Saturday as he won the event at the Kip Keino classic on home soil in Nairobi. The 26-year-old, who set his continental record of 9.77s  on the same track in September, has also set his sights on success outside of Africa. “I am the African record holder, but I want to be the African champion,” he told BBC Sport Africa. “Right now, I am hungry for medals, so I am really preparing for the African Championships, World Championships and the Commonwealth Games.” Joseph Gikonyo is the only other man from the east African country to become continental champion over the distance, winning in 1990. Omanyala thinks a lack of belief is the only reason more Kenyans have not won the African 100m title – something he is determined to change in Mauritius next month. “It has been all in the mind because [Kenya] have the talent,” he insisted. “It is the first thing that I did – I changed my mind and said I can do it because all these guys are just like us. “We have a lot of talent in Kenya that needs to be tapped. That is something I have opened the door to, so we need more of that in the future.” Omanyala beat American Olympic 100m silver medalist Fred Kerley as he thrilled the home fans at the Continental Tour gold meeting at the weekend. “I promised a show and I delivered, so I always walk the talk. That was just one of the shows and we are just beginning the season,” Omanyala said after his race. “Every race I am going to compete. I need to lower my time. Two weeks ago I ran 9.98, today I ran 9.85 so you can do the math and say, 9.7, 9.6 and then 9.5.”Kerley felt that a false start, which saw him only stop after around 50 meters, had affected his chances even though he ran a season’s best. The race had been due to feature Italian Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs, but he was forced to withdraw before the start after suffering from food poisoning. There was also a year’s world-leading time in the women’s 100m as Jamaica’s three-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won in 10.67 seconds. “This means a lot to me,” the Jamaican told BBC Sport Africa. “To open my season in 10.67 means that my training so far has been going great and I continue to trust all will work out well. “For a long time, I have had a lot of fans on my Facebook on my Instagram telling me to come to Kenya. I thought ‘Why not now?’, even though it was early in the season, and it is really far from Kingston but I am glad I was able to come here and be able to put a show for the fans.” After her win Fraser-Pryce wrote she was “a mother running her own race in the motherland” on Facebook, as she continues her message of encouraging women to keep chasing their sports dreams after childbirth. Elsewhere, Namibian Olympic 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma had been hoping to run a sprint double at the meeting but fell during the 100m following a muscle strain, ending her day in tears. Her coach told BBC Sport Africa they will do an MRI scan in South Africa this week but he is positive the injury will not keep the 2021 BBC African Sport Personality of the Year out of action for too long. This was the third edition of the Kip Keino Classic, and other athletes aside from Fraser-Pryce believe that it is important to have more high level one-day meets in Africa. “It puts Africa on the map and this competition is as good as any,” Great Britain’s Laura Zialor, who won the high jump, told BBC Sport Africa. “It is ‘World Athletics’ and it should be showcased around the world. “I have always wanted to visit the country and wanted to do this meet. To come out and win it is incredible.” Poland’s Olympic hammer champion Wojciech Nowicki opened his season with a win in his second appearance at the meet. “For us Europeans, this is an exotic place,” the 33-year-old said. “The change in venues is good for us and it means we try our body in different kind of weather and it is better preparation for major competition.”