Africa’s fastest man, Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala scooped gold after winning the men’s 100m final, clocking 10:02 seconds at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, on Wednesday, August 3.
Omanyala, now a Commonwealth Champion, hit the ground running with a flying start that gave him the edge over the competition’s defending champion, South African Akani Simbine, who was placed right next to the Kenyan and finished second in 10.13 sec.
He powered on to victory leaving Simbine in his wake and Yupun Abeykoon from Sri Lanka who picked up bronze in 10.14 sec.
There was no stopping Omanyala, who felt he had something to prove after the 26-year-old’s visa delay resulted in an underwhelming performance at the World Athletics Championships held in Oregon last month.
It is Kenya’s first gold in the men’s 100m Commonwealth final since Seraphino Antao in 1962.
Omanyala overcame visa issues to enter Oregon with just enough time to race, and still managed to qualify for the 100m semi-finals, becoming the first Kenyan to do so.
Unfortunately, he did not make it to the final of the event on Sunday morning as jetlag affected his performance, finishing fifth in his heat with a time of 10.14 seconds.
Omanyala said that he would forget his painful experience and focus on a podium result in Birmingham.
“I’m looking forward to a great championship in Birmingham and I’ll just get back to training and gauge the state of my body. I’m looking forward to better the time that I ran here and enjoy and have fun,” Omanyala said.
Omanyala stated that his struggle to obtain a visa on time caused him to come late and be exhausted at the event.
“It was a long journey but I thank the ministry for booking me into a business class which made my journey less hectic,” Omanyala said.
“At least I got to sleep a bit but you can’t escape the jet lag as long as you are in the air. It was easy because at least I got to run in the last heat. I did some warm-up and qualified for the semi-finals. From the semi-finals, it was a bit hard because I woke feeling so heavy.”
“I was getting some better starts but I couldn’t just get the acceleration that I usually have. I never had that push that carries me through the last 50m. I guess that’s where the time was not going to be good.”