Olympic champion Jacobs pens emotional message to Omanyala after hospital visit

President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates Ferdinand Omanyala

President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates Ferdinand Omanyala after winning the men's 100 metres race during Kip Keino Classic at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on May 7, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Italian was to face the Kenyan for the first time over the distance at the Kip Keino Classic at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on May 7, but was hospitalized for gastrointestinal problems.
  • His coach Paolo Camossi noted that Jacobs would not be able to show up at the starting blocks because he was still under observation in the emergency room of the Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital, managed by the Italian NGO World Friends.

Olympic 100 metres men's champion Marcell Jacobs has penned an emotional message to Ferdinand Omanyala after Africa’s fastest man visited him at Uhai Neema Hospital in Nairobi where he was hospitalized for suspected food poisoning.

“Congratulations on your race. I wish I had been there to race with you. Thanks for coming to visit me. Thanks also to your family and to all the wonderful people there. See you soon," Jacobs wrote on Instagram where he has 807,190 followers.

The Italian was to face the Kenyan for the first time over the distance at the Kip Keino Classic at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on May 7, but was hospitalized for gastrointestinal problems.

His coach Paolo Camossi noted that Jacobs would not be able to show up at the starting blocks because he was still under observation in the emergency room of the Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital, managed by the Italian NGO World Friends.

“We would like to thank the staff and doctors, Gianfranco Morino and Washington Njogu, who have been very attentive, friendly and professional with Marcell and with all of us. We also thank the staff of the Embassy of Italy, in particular the security officer, who have given us assistance in this whole affair,” Italian Athletics Federation wrote at the time.

Omanyala went on to win the World Athletics Continental Gold Tour event in a world leading time of 9.85 seconds after outsprinting Americans Olympic 100m silver medalist Fred Kerley (9.92) and Isiah Young (10.13).

The police officer holds the African record of 9.77 seconds he set when finishing second at last year's Kip Keino Classic behind American Trayvon Bromel.

Omanyala and Jacobs faced off in the 60-metre race during the World Athletics Indoor Tour in Lievin, France on February 17.

Jacobs won in Lievin after posting 6.50 seconds, with Omanyala a distant fourth in 6.57, a new national record.

The two could meet in the Diamond League season which gets underway on May 13 with the Doha leg in Qatar.

Omanyala is in a team of 78 athletes selected last month for the Africa Senior Athletics Championships slated for June 8-12 in Mauritius.

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