Omanyala inspires Kenyan sprinters as they seek World Championships times

Maximilla Imali (centre) charges past her competitors in 100m semi-final heat

Maximilla Imali (centre) charges past her competitors in 100m semi-final heat during Athletics Kenya First Weekend Meeting at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on February 5, 2022.


Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Besides brushing shoulders with some of the world’s finest, a good purse will be on offer and most importantly, opportunities to qualify the 2022 Oregon World Athletics Championships.
  • And they will be seeking inspiration from one of their own, Africa’s fastest man, Ferdinand Omanyala.

There will be a lot on offer for Kenya’s sprinters as they feature in some of the core races at the Absa Kip Keino Classic on Saturday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

Besides brushing shoulders with some of the world’s finest, a good purse will be on offer and most importantly, opportunities to qualify the 2022 Oregon World Athletics Championships.

And they will be seeking inspiration from one of their own, Africa’s fastest man, Ferdinand Omanyala.

The national 100m record holder Maximilla Imali, 200m runner Millicent Ndoro and the men’s 200m duo of Dan Kiviasi and Mike Mokamba hope to attain the qualifying standards for the world event scheduled for July 15 to 24 in Oregon.

It will also be a good opportunity for the national hammer throw champion Lucy Omondi and her compatriot Roselyn Rakamba to improve their standards in women’s hammer throw.

The women’s 100m field is simply sumptuous with three athletes with sub 11 seconds time.  

Imali, who set a new national 100m record of 11.35 seconds when reclaiming her national title on April 28 at Kasarani, will face two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.60) from Jamaican and Tokyo Olympic 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma (10.97) of Namibia.

“Omanyala has really been talking to us, pushing us, advising us and encouraging us to go for it. He says this is our year,” said Imali, who is polishing her block starts and acceleration techniques.

“My initial target was the 200m but 100m has also come into the mix,” explained Imali.

The qualifying standard for women’s 100m at the World Championships is 11.15 seconds.

Tokyo Olympics 4x100m silver medallist Javianne Oliver (US, 10.96), Mboma’s compatriot Beatrice Masilingi (11.20), who reached the final in women’s 200m at Tokyo Olympics, Shannon Ray (US, 11.24), Bassant Hemida (Egypt, 11.12), and Rani Rosius (Belgium, 11.33) and Patrizia Van der Weken (11.50) are also in the 100m line up.

Fraser-Pryce ran a personal best 10.60 when winning the Lausanne leg of the Diamond league on August 26 last year, a time that placed her the third fastest woman in the history of the 100m.

American Florence Griffith-Joyner holds the world record of 10.49 set in 1988.

Mboma just eased off to a national record and personal best 10.97 when she won women’s Gaborone International Meet on Saturday at National Stadium, Botswana.

The teenager had just ran 10.90 at Little Rock Twilight, Coleman Sports Complex, Little Rock, Arizona, United States on April 15 but her victory in 100m was judged as wind assisted at +2.8.

Imali, who won the national 200m title in personal best 23.73, might double up in 200m where she will join Ndoro (23.83) in a race that has four athletes with sub 23 seconds.

Besides Mboma (21.78), the Kenyan pair will come up against 2019 Doha world championships 4x100m bronze medallist, Dezerea Bryant (US, 22.18) and African Games 200m champion Gina Bass (Gambia, 22.58).

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