African Athletics Championships: Omanyala vows to extend Nigeria’s 100m winless run to 14 years

Kenyan sprinter targeting African 100m title

Ferdinand Omanyala says he 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.”

If Omanyala wins at the 22nd edition of the championships in Mauritius next month, he will be denying Nigeria the chance of returning to podium as champions 14 years after Olusoji Fasuba won the title.

Fasuba remains the only African sprinter to have won the title on three consecutive occasions but will be hoping any of the quartet of Tokyo Olympics 100m finalist, Enoch Adegoke, reigning African Games king Raymond Ekevwo, World U20 200m champion Udodi Nwazurike and new sensation Favour Ashe return Nigeria to the top as king of the blue ribband event.

Nigeria has won the 100m title nine times in 21 editions and could win for the 10th time in Mauritius.

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