Ferdinand Omanyala: What next for Africa’s fastest man after disappointment in Budapest?

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ATHLETICS Ferdinand Omanyala: What next for Africa’s fastest man after disappointment in Budapest?

Joel Omotto 07:04 - 29.08.2023

Omanyala has little time to feel sorry for himself as there is still further Diamond League glory to chase this year before the Africa Athletics Championships and Paris Olympics in 2024.

Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala has little time to focus on his poor performance at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary as there are a number of events for him to focus on this year ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Omanyala finished a disappointing seventh in the 100m final on Sunday 20 August to miss out on a medal that many hoped he could get following his brilliant performance this season.

However, it is not all gloom for Omanyala as he still has the Diamond League to look forward to before the 2023 season is out.

Omanyala is joint top in the 100m Diamond League standings, alongside South African Akani Simbine, both on 28 points, five ahead of former world champion Fred Kerley of the United States.

With three legs of the regular season still to go, the 100m runners only have the Xiamen leg in China on September 2 to compete in and secure points for the Diamond League Final in Eugene, Oregon from September 16-17.

The top six in the field events, top eight for 100m-800m, and the top 10 for 1,500m and long-distance events will qualify for the Final which means Omanyala has already secured his place in Eugene given newly-crowned world champion Noah Lyles (USA) and Jamaican Ackeem Blake, both tied on eight points each in eighth place, guaranteed a maximum of 16 points.

Even if the Kenyan opts out of the China meeting, his place is not in danger and what might change is just ranking positions.

However, given he has featured in most Diamond League races, Omanyala will be keen to stamp his authority in Xiamen having been on the podium in all the four races (third in Rabat, second in Florence, second in Paris, and first in Monaco) so far this season.

Those who qualify compete in a winner-takes-all competition at the final to be crowned Wanda Diamond League Champion in their chosen discipline.

Each champion is awarded a prestigious "Diamond Trophy", US$ 30,000 (Ksh3.4 million) prize money, and a wild card for the World Athletics Championships.

This year’s final will be intense given Lyles will be keen to reassert his authority while Omanyala, Kerley, and Simbine will want to end the season in victorious fashion.

While the Kenyan finished seventh in Budapest, Simbine was disqualified in the semi-final for a false start while Kerley was unable to defend his title after failing to make the final.

Omanyala will then take a rest before embarking on his 2024 season which will be a grueling one as it will involve more Diamond League races, the 23rd Africa Athletics Championships in Cameroon before the Paris Olympics where he will be seeking to right the wrongs of Budapest.