Africa fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya has taken the gold medal in the men’s 100metre final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK on Wednesday.
The 26 year sprints sensation clocked 10.02 to win relatively comfortably ahead of continental rival and defending champion Akani Simbine of South Africa.
Sri Lankan sprinter Yupun Abeykoon finished a hundredth of a second behind Simbine to take bronze in a hotly contested finish, with Jeremiah Azu of Wales in fifth with 10.19.
Omanyala recovered brilliantly from setbacks in July which saw him suffer visa issues before the World Championships. Those problems meant he arrived in Oregon, US, just hours before his 100m heat before being knocked out in the semi-final.
He said: ‘I came here with the sole aim of winning the gold and in the final it was a case of controlling the race from the start.
‘Once I got a good start I knew I would win the gold. When I crossed the line I felt like jumping for joy.’
“It needed someone to break the barrier because there will be so many other sprinters coming through. It will have a lot of impact now that I have two championship gold medals and an Africa record,” noted Omanyala, who has personal best of 9.77 seconds.
He said the Commonwealth Games victory is a big motivation towards next season where he intends to take another shot at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary and later the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
“Winning the Africa and Commonwealth titles in addition to setting a new Africa Record in less than one year makes that dream for the world and Olympic title possible and a reality,” said Omanyala.
Seraphino Antao was the first and only Kenyan to win the 100m sprint at the Club games in 1962, when the race was 100 yards (Approx 91.44m)
Omanyala has now clinched a medal in his first ever final, having missed out at the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Indoor Championships and the World Championships last month, where he reached the semis in all. Source: KBC