What you need to know:
- As Africans, we can dream that one of our sons will be on the podium in Budapest— or even grab the world title.
- Let it not be forgotten that this was Omanyala’s second race in the Diamond League in over a year and a half – the man who clocked the world’s fastest time in 2023 will surely get better with time.
As far as athletics events go, it was another weekend of sizzling action as our disciplined forces, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) held their respective national championships.
On the international scene, all eyes were glued to the Rabat Diamond League in Morocco, where the best of the best clashed on Sunday night at this prestigious meet.
Millions of Kenyans were looking forward to this night because several of our men and women were in action in various categories of the competition.
As the most glamorous competition on the World Athletics’ calendar of one-day meets, the Diamond League is often bound to attract the who-is-who of athletics as they bid to build momentum towards the World Championships or the Olympic Games.
True to the pre-race billing, the event indeed delivered as various athletes came away all smiles while others retreated to the drawing board after disappointing outcomes.
The absence of Olympic 100 metres champion Lamont Marcel Jacobs of Italy was soon forgotten as world champion Fred Kerley of the United States cruised across the finish line in 9.94 seconds.
It was a beautiful moment for Africa in that the next two men on the podium were South Africa’s Akani Simbine and our very own, Ferdinand Omanyala.
Jacobs’ no-show notwithstanding, the two have been in very great form this year and surely deserve to be in the conversation about the favourites for the men’s 100m at this year’s World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
As Africans, we can dream that one of our sons will be on the podium in Budapest— or even grab the world title. Let it not be forgotten that this was Omanyala’s second race in the Diamond League in over a year and a half – the man who clocked the world’s fastest time in 2023 will surely get better with time.
Our dearest daughter, Commonwealth Games 800m champion Mary Moraa, also did Kenya proud when she clocked a season’s best of 1:58.72 to clinch first place in the same event. Coming only a fortnight after she shone at the Absa Kip Keino Classic, I would have her as a sure bet for the world title in Hungary.
Another man to watch out for in Budapest is Emmanuel Wanyonyi who once again showed why he was one of the standout performers at the 2021 World Athletics Under 20 Championships when he won the men’s 800m title.
As he admitted afterwards, racing against the Olympic and world champion, Emmanuel Korir, is no easy task. Yet, for all his inexperience — compared to his fellow Kenyan —Wanyonyi notched another win, hot on the heels of setting a course record and world lead at the Kip Keino Classic.
As we turn our attention to Florence this weekend, battle lines have been drawn as the road to Budapest gets bumpier. We pray that our Kenyan representatives continue to excel.
Korir is the chairman of Athletics Kenya’s Nairobi branch.