Nairobi — Commonwealth Games 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala says he will be keen on having fun when he competes at next week’s Spitzen Leichtathletick World Continental Tour in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The African 100m record holder – who will also run at the 2022 ISTAF World Continental Tour Silver in Berlin, Germany – said he is looking to wind up his season on a high after attaining most of his targets.
“For me, I am simply looking to enjoy myself when I go there because I have achieved all that I set out to do for this season. There is no specific target for the respective races but just to close out the season on a positive note,” Omanyala said.
The African 100m champion added: “I would have competed in the Diamond League series but I missed out on most of the legs because they were clashing with the various championships in which I was competing. My aim was to win a medal this year and I did it. Therefore, I have chosen to participate in these World Continental Tour events because as it stands it would be difficult for me to make it to the finals of the Diamond League.”
Omanyala, who boasts a national and African record of 9.77, began his year on a high, running 9.85 to win the men’s 100m at the Kip Keino Classic – during which he beat world champion Fred Kerley of the United States.
He followed it up by dethroning South African Akani Simbine the African title at the Senior Africa Athletics Championships in Reduit, Mauritius.
It was not all rosy for Omanyala, though, as a visa hitch disrupted his travel plans to the World Championships in Oregon where he subsequently failed to qualify for the finals of the men’s 100m.
Nonetheless, Omanyala insists the debacle is now water under the bridge for him as he resets his focus on clinching the world title at next year’s edition in Budapest, Hungary.
“Things happen for a reason. My dream for next year is come back stronger and win the world title in Hungary. Afterwards, the next title I want is the Olympic one, specifically in Paris in 2024,” Omanyala explained.
To make it to Hungary, however, Omanyala will have to clock at least 10.00 in World Athletics-sanctioned races between July 31 this year and July 31, 2023.
This is in contrast to the 10.05 qualifying time for this year’s edition in Oregon.
Regardless of the raised qualification standards, Omanyala remains confident of gracing the National Athletics Centre – the venue for next year’s competition.
“It all narrows down to the world rankings. Even if the standards have been raised, there’s still a minimum of 48 athletes who will be required for the men’s 100m. Of course, we will have to work harder but no doubt there will be athletes meeting this qualification standard,” he said.
The Kitale-born is also hoping to see more Kenyan sprinters and field athletes qualify for international competitions.
“We have seen a number of sprinters representing the country at international events this year. It is a sign many of them have developed self-belief… the talent has always been there but for the lack of self-confidence. I am sure more sprinters and field athletes will emerge so long as the federation (Athletics Kenya) continues providing the support it has been giving,” he said.