Omanyala ignites Olympics medal hopes as he tops Lyles, Seville & Co at end of qualification period

Ferdnand Omanyala

Omanyala ignites Olympics medal hopes as he tops Lyles, Seville & Co at end of qualification period

Joel Omotto 15:00 - 30.06.2024

Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala has put himself in a good position to vie for an Olympics medal after recording better times than favourites Noah Lyles, Oblique Seville and Co.

Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala heads to the Paris 2024 Olympics among the in-form runners in the 100m as he has the world’s second fastest time.

Omanyala clocked a world leading 9.79 at the Athletics Kenya Olympics trials in Nairobi on June 15, showing how he is peaking at the right moment for the Olympics set to take place next month.

That was his second sub-10 seconds of the season after 9.98 at the Prefontaine Classic in May and it shows how steadily he is improving ahead of the Paris Games.

Omanyala’s time was, however, beaten by Jamaican Kishane Thompson, who lowered it to 9.77 at the Olympics trials in Kingston on Friday, setting the stage for an epic battle.

What will give the Kenyan confidence is that his time is quicker than that posted by world champion Noah Lyles, who managed 9.83 to win the US Olympics finals, and Oblique Seville (9.82) of Jamaica.

It is also better than Kenny Bednarek (9.87), Fred Kerley (9.88), Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs (9.92) and Jamaican Ackeem Blake (9.92) whom he will be competing with in Paris.

Even though Omanyala ran in a high altitude in Nairobi, this is the company that he needed to be in heading to the Olympics and he has done well to stay in contention by the end of June.

Heading into the Olympics, there are still three Diamond League meetings in Paris (July 7), Monaco (July 12) and London (July) where lower times could be recorded as preparations gather pace.

Omanyala reached the semi-final of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before making the final at the 2023 World Championships, where he finished a disappointing seventh, but there is great hope that he could reach the podium in Paris if he gets his tactics spot on.

That would be a historic feat for the 28-year-old but he has to put in the work between now and the Olympics to ensure he is in top shape to compete with the very best when it matters most.