What you need to know:
- Golden Spike organisers Wednesday told Nation Sport exclusively that they had roped in Blake, the world’s second fastest ever in the 200 metres, in the stellar 100m field that also has South Africa’s Akani Simbine.
- Also in the field is Jamaica-born Canadian Jerome Blake, silver medalist in the short relays for the Maple Leafs at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Kenyan sprints sensation Ferdinand Omanyala now comes up against his idol, Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, over 100 metres at the Golden Spike Continental Tour meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on May 31, organisers announced Wednesday.
Fresh from winning Nairobi’s round of the Continental Tour Gold series - the Kip Keino Classic – at Kasarani last weekend, Omanyala will feature in small, build-up races in Germany and Italy before travelling to Ostrava for the big one.
Golden Spike organisers Wednesday told Nation Sport exclusively that they had roped in Blake, the world’s second fastest ever in the 200 metres, in the stellar 100m field that also has South Africa’s Akani Simbine.
Also in the field is Jamaica-born Canadian Jerome Blake, silver medalist in the short relays for the Maple Leafs at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Jerome Blake’s 100m personal best time is 10.00 seconds with Omanyala the second fastest in the Ostrava field with 9.77.
The decorated Yohan Blake, a two-time Olympic champion and two-time world champion, is the fastest in the field with a PB of 9.69 clocked in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2012.
Running at the 2021 Kip Keino Classic last September, Omanyala clocked 9.77 seconds to take over the title of Africa’s fastest man from Simbine (9.84).
“I was already looking at Omanyala’s results last year and I wanted to get him to our meeting in Zagreb, which we also organise, but he had visa issues and couldn’t travel,” Alfons Juck, organizer of the Golden Spike meeting said yesterday, describing Omanyala, 26, as “special talent.”
“I knew that he was on a special level, considering that Kenyans are known for distance running. I watched the (Kip Keino Classic) race on Saturday and how he coped with the speed of (USA’s Olympic 100m silver medallist) Fred Kerley in the second half…
“Everyone thought he’d be caught by Kerley, but it didn’t happen!”
Juck said global meet organisers look out for sub-10 seconds athletes and Omanyala easily fitted in that bracket after winning last Saturday in 9.85 in the world’s fastest time this year.
Omanyala is excited about the prospects that lie in wait in Ostrava, promising to “unleash a personal best time.”
“Ostrava is an event I’ve always dreamt of because (world record holder Usain) Bolt loved the place,” Omanyala said yesterday.
“I’m so excited about it because I know I’m going to run a very fast time there.”
Omanyala will run his build-up in Grosseto, Italy, on May 22 before lining up for two more races in Germany on May 25 and 28.
Jamaica’s now retired world record holder Usain Bolt ran nine times at the Golden Spike meeting in his illustrious career, saying he considered the Czech meet as one of his most favourite.
“Usain’s nine appearances are the most he made in one venue in his career. Our meeting is friendly and there is not too much pressure on the athletes,” Juck explained.
“The hotel is close to the stadium and so it is convenient for the athletes to do their warm-ups…”
Omanyala comes up against Blake, 32, with the confidence of having defeated the Jamaican in the semi-finals of the Olympics in Tokyo, running a then national record 10.00 to finish third.
Blake was a distant sixth in 10.14 seconds.