Nairobi — In punishing Nairobi altitude, Ferdinand Omanyala set a new 100m national record after clocking 10.02 in Team Kenya's trials for the Olympic Games as he hit the qualifying mark alongside Mark Otieno who timed 10.05.
Both Omanyala and Otieno have qualified for the Tokyo Games after finishing within the 10.05 qualifying mark and for the first time in history, Kenya will have an athlete competing in the 100m at the Olympics.
Four false starts, a jittery start and nerves all culminated in a ferocious performance from Omanyala and Otieno, with the latter setting a new personal best as he watched his mate crush his 10.12 national record.
"I feel really excited to have qualified. This year it was just about me and the time. I did not want to prove anything to anyone. I just wanted to run well. Actually it was my dream to come here and qualify at home infront of everyone," an excited Omanyala said.
Otieno added; "This is historic for us. It is the first time that Kenya is represented at the Olympics in 100m and we feel proud to be the ones going. I felt great running alongside Ferdi because he really pushed me."
Omanyala and Otieno, the fastest men on the field and on Kenyan soil ran side by side in lane four and three respectively.
The race lived up to its billing of a tensed affair as the horns sounded four times for a false start with one disqualification.
But ultimately, when the gun blew for a perfect lift off, the Kasarani roof went up in smoke. Both Omanyala and Otieno reacted well off the blocks, powering home in the final 50m with Omanyala just but dipping ahead of his compatriot at the line.
The two held each other side by side as they endured a few minutes of waiting for the time on the board and when it ultimately did, the embraces became more tighter and the smiles and screams louder.
Ugandan Benson Okot was third in a personal best time of 10.52 while Pius Adome came fourth in 10.55.
But the toast of the afternoon belonged to the two gents who have booked aisle and window seat tickets to Tokyo.