Ferdinand Omanyala: Commonwealth Gold medal is coming home

Ferdinand Omanyala

Ferdinand Omanyala takes a selfie with a fan after winning his race.
 

Photo credit: Ayumba Ayodi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • No Kenyan has yet to win the 100m title at the modern Commonwealth Games.
  • The late Seraphino Antao handed Kenya its maiden gold sprints medals with victories in 100 yards and 200m yards respectively at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

In Birmingham

“Behold, two sub 10 seconds and the gold medal is coming home!

That was Africa 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala’s message to Kenyans as he won his 100m first round heat to ease through to the semi-finals of Commonwealth Games athletics at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham Tuesday.

Omanyala clocked 10.07 seconds to win the fifth heat and qualify alongside compatriot Samuel Imeta, who finished second in heat nine in a personal best time of 10.12 seconds.

Omanyala, who posted the second fastest time in the first round, edged out Eseme Emmanuel from Cameroon to second place in 10.08 with the latter also qualifying.

The semi-finals were due at 9.10pm followed by the final at 11.30pm.

“My body feels fine. I will be going for two sub 10 seconds and the title. The track is fine and fast,” said Omanyala.

“I am excited and looking forward to tomorrow (Wednesday) to see what time I will clock.”

Omanyala, who received the wildest cheers when being introduced, hailed the fans and ambience at the arena.

“It is simply amazing and what any athlete would want to have. Such receptive fans make me run fast.”

About the challenge defending champion Akani Simbine from South Africa pose, Omanyala said he won’t be focusing on individuals but delivering good results.

“I know Simbine is around but I am confident and healthy, focusing on nothing short of victory. Tell Kenyans I am winning gold tomorrow,” said Omanyala, who is the fastest in the field with a personal best of 9.85 sec.

Simbine clocked 10.10 seconds to win the second heat before making his intentions obvious.

“I am here to defend my title. I know Omanyala has promised a good challenge if we reach the final but I am always ready for that. It's what will make this event a thriller for the spectators," said Simbine, who welcomed the good atmosphere at the stadium.

Sri Lanka’s Yupun Abeykoon recorded the fastest time when he won heat six in 10.06sec.

Favour Ashe won the opening heat in 10 12 sec as Ojie Edoburun from England claimed the third heat in 10.27sec.

Rohan Browning from England won heat nine in 10.10sec, beating Imeta to second place.

"Clocking a personal best feels great for me. My body responded well and I think I should perform well and reach the final," said Imeta.

No Kenyan has yet to win the 100m title at the modern Commonwealth Games.

The late Seraphino Antao handed Kenya its maiden gold sprints medals with victories in 100 yards and 200m yards respectively at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

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