Ferdinand Omanyala Loses First Race Of 2024

Omanyala finished at a time of 10.03 seconds.

Ferdinand Omanyala Loses First Race Of 2024
Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala. /FACEBOOK

Kenyan sprinter, Ferdinand Omanyala, Africa's fastest man, on Saturday, April 20 finished fifth in the men's 100m race at the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour.

Kenneth Bednarek of the United States of America (USA) clinched victory in front of Kenyan fans at the Nyayo National Stadium, clocking a time of 9.91 seconds.

Omanyala finished at a time of 10.03 seconds in his first race in 2024, but ahead of his fellow countryman Mark Odhiambo who finished sixth with 10.22.

Kenyans watching the leaderboard showing results of the men's 100 m race during the Kip Keino Classic at Nyayo Stadium on April 20, 2024. /X

Liberia's Emmanuel Matadi came second with a 9.99 behind Bednarek while Great Britain's Jeremiah Azu came third with a 10.00-second result.

Italy's Chituru Ali emerged fourth with a 10.01 finish and finished moments before Omanyala. 

During the race, there was a small hitch as the starting blocks were not in line hence causing the athletes to restart. 

On the women's side, Kenya's Esther Mbagari emerged seventh in the women's 100-metre category, clocking in at 12.08.

Ghana's Gina Mariam Bittaye scooped the top position with 11.33, followed by Egypt's Basanta Hemida (11.51) and USA's Shannon Ray (11.53).

Prior to the race, Bednarek, a world silver medallist, expressed optimism of victory, going by his peerless form that has seen him bag a couple of races in the new season.

"I'm glad to be back (in Kenya), I'm excited for this week. I'm ready to take on Omanyala and the other competitors, and to have some fun too," Bednarek underlined.

It is worth noting that Bednarek came second to Omanyala in the 2023 Kip Keino classic with 9.98 seconds while Omanyala won with 9.84 seconds, considered the latter's best time in the 100 metres race in the 2023 season and the best time in the world in the 2023 season.

Omanyala's 9.84 seconds that year was better than his record of 9.85 during the same event on May 7, 2022, which earned him the title of Africa's fastest man, officially, setting the world's fastest time for 2022.

On the bright side, Kenya's world 800m silver medalist Emmanuel Wanyonyi cruised to his third straight win at the Kip Keino Classic, setting a world-leading time of 1:43.57 to claim top honour ahead of the Olympic trials.

African Games 800m champion Aron Kemei clocked a personal best of 1:44.10 while finishing second. Olympics silver medalist Ferguson Rotich finished third in a season’s best of 1:44.90. 

Kenya's Emmanuel Wanyonyi in action during a past race. /FILE