World Athletics Championships: Omanyala in action

Friday, July 15th, 2022 13:42 | By
Akani Simbine (left) alongside Ferdinand Omanyala (Right). PHOTO/AkaniSimbine/Twitter

The long wait is over and action begins today at the Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.

The first medals will be won today and once again Kenya has a chance to finish in the podium as African champions Emily Ngii and Samuel Gathimba take part in the Race Walk. 

Ngii will be the first in action when the 20km Race Walk starts at 23:10hrs. Gathimba  will have to wait until the wee hours of Saturday morning to try and bring the global title home. 

The last few days have been very eventful for not only Kenyan athletes but also athletes from other countries, an issue that even former 400m world record holder Michael Johnson criticized. 

Kenya’s superstar Ferdinand Omanyala received his US visa on Thursday morning and is expected to touch down in the USA in a few hours time ahead of the 22:30 hrs 100m preliminary round. 

Already, Team Kenya officials have picked up Omanyala’s bib number and were also allowed to pick his accreditation. Arrangements have also been made for a physiotherapist to attend to the African 100m record holder once he arrives in Oregon.

The 100m preliminary round will be one to savor as global have already issued war cries ahead of the duels. 

Africa has been starved of medals in the 100m and this time round, many pundits believe that they can break the duck. 

Ferdinand Omanyala is Africa’s fastest man and the third fastest man on earth this year. His personal best of 9.77 set in 2021 must have sent shivers across the likes of Fred Kerley of the USA and his compatriot Trayvon Brommel. The pair are the only ones to have posted faster times than Omanyala in the distance in 2022. 

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says that Africa has what it takes to reign supreme in the sprints. 

“What we are beginning to see is the emergence of world-class sprinters plying their trade and training in Africa,” Coe said. 

World Athletics boss Sebastian Coe.

If somebody in Africa wins an Olympic or World Championship sprint title, it will have the same impact as David Rudisha winning the 800 metres. It will really inspire more young athletes, particularly to recognize that the sprints are something that’s for them,” he added. 

Kenya’s hopes on Omanyala as the 100m dash starts.

Medal hopefuls Ferdinand Omanyala and USA’s Fred Kerley have a very interesting story. For Omanyala, he had to abandon Rugby for the sprints and that alone has already inspired hundreds of young sprinters in the country. Kerley on the other hand was criticized for switching to the 100m last year and he has since proved his doubters wrong as he now looks favourite for the global crown. ‘

Omanyala and Kerley came head to head in May during the Kip Keino Classic at the Kasarani stadium and after one false start, Omanyala beat the tall powerful American to retain his title. 

Day 1 lineup (All in East Africa Time)

22:30 hrs 100m Preliminary Round 

23:10 hrs 20km Race Walk Final

01:10 hrs 20km Race Walk Final

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