Kenya: Omanyala Eyes 24-Year Old Championship Record, Gold Medal At Africa Athletics Championship Final

(file photo).

Nairobi — African record holder Ferdinand Omanyala will line up from Lane 6 on Thursday afternoon in the final of the men's 100m as he seeks his first ever major title at the Africa Athletics Championship in Mauritius.

Omanyala was peerless as he literally cruised in winning his heat in 10.05secs and the semis in 10.07secs on Wednesday, and now he has set sights on the Championship Record of 9.94secs set in 1998 and the Gold medal.

"The championship record was set when I was two years old, so I am looking forward to breaking it in the final. I am hoping the conditions will be perfect, I hope it won't rain and I hope for a perfect race," Omanyala said after he cruised to the final.

The record is held by Nigerian Sean Ogunkoya set in Dakar in 1998.

Having already run 9.86secs for a season's best at the Kip Keino Classic run in high altitude in Nairobi, Omanyala is more than capable of lowering the 9.93secs mark.

"I hope to break the record but most of all I want to get the African gold medal," he adds.

Meanwhile, Omanyala says the new expectation around his head is not pressure on him but a motivation to go on and give a good performance.

"I t is a motivation because now everyone expects me to run fast. I always want to give people a show and coming here, all eyes are on me and everyone expects something. That is something I worked hard for and I am looking forward to giving a good performance," said Omanyala.

He will come face to face with South African Akani Simbine again having already beaten him at the Athletics South Africa Championships in May. Simbine clocked the closest time to him in the semis, having run 10.09secs in winning his semi-final heat.

Homeboy Bibi Noa, Nigeria's Raymond Ekevwo, Cameroon's Emanuel Eseme, Gilbert Maseko of Namibia and South African Bruintjies Henricho are the other men at the starting blocks of the men's 100m.

Meanwhile, Omanyala will be up for his second charge of a medal as he leads the Kenyan team out for the men's 4x100m heats which will be the last event for the day.

Kenya will have an opportunity of bagging medals in four events with the women's 100m, 5,000m and 1500m final also scheduled for today.

In the 1500m women's final, Kenya's charge will have Purity Chepkirui and the seasoned Winny Chebet while Caroline Nyaga and Beatrice Chebet lead the charge in the women's 5,000m final.

National record holder Maxmilla Imali will line up in the women's 100m final.

At the same time, Nicholas Kiplagat will be Kenya's solo representative in the men's 800m while William Seewua and Team Captain Collins Omae line up in the men's 400m semis. Veronica Mutua and Jacinta Shikanda line up in the women's 400m semis.

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