Athletics stars take a break ahead of the new season

Athletics stars take a break ahead of the new season

Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala (left) greets American Trayvon Bromell after the men's 100m race during the Absa Kip Keino Classic at Kasarani on September 18, 2021.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

After downing 12 Meet Records, top performers at the just-concluded Absa Kip Keino Classic take a break to re-energise ahead of a busy 2022 World Athletics season.

The newly introduced World Cross Country Tour that runs from next month to February next year, will kick off the new season, before the World Indoor Championships on March 18-20 in Belgrade, Serbia.

The main focus next year will be on the World Athletics Championships programmed for July 15-24 in Eugene, Oregon, United States and the Commonwealth Games on July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

The second edition of the Kip Keino Classic was the last of the 12 legs in the 2021 World Athletics Continental Gold Tour, which had seven events in Europe and two in the United States.

After the four-week break, the new Africa 100 metres record holder Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala plans to take his short races supremacy battle to the indoor platform this time around.

The 2015 world 100m bronze medallist Trayvon Bromell may have set a personal best in running the fastest time on Kenyan soil in 100m but it’s Omanyala, the national record holder, who hogged the limelight in the final race of the day at Kip Keino Classic on Saturday.

Bromell, who hopes to put behind the Tokyo Olympics disappointment behind him with a good show in front of home fans when the world heads to Oregon, won the men’s 100m in Nairobi in 9.76 seconds, beating Omanyala to second place in 9.77.

Two-time world 100m champion Justin Gatlin, who is also the 2004 Athens Olympics 100m champion, settled third in 10.03.

Bromell and Gatlin, the 2005 and 2017 world 100m champion, expressed their desire to battle at the home ground come Oregon’s world event.

“I will talk to Athletics Kenya, if possible, to have Omanyala in the national team for the world indoor competition,” said Omanyala’s manager Marcel Viljoen.

“After the deserving break, I want him to come back much better and stronger since it will be an eventful 2022 season for him. I want him to start with the indoor build ups in February,” said Viljoen.

And Omanyala is ready for the new adventure.

“It will be a new thing altogether for me, but I am ready as it will form part of my build up to the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games,” said Omanyala, who will be making his debut in both the events.

Olympic 100m silver medallist Fred Kerley from the United States and Olympic 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma destroyed their respective fields over the distance new Meet Records.

Kerley’s time of 19.76 was not only his personal best but the fastest time to be run on Kenyan soil. When asked which event he will compete in in Oregon, Kerley, who has had a great season in 100m, 200m and 400 said with a telling smile: “The world will have to wait.”

Mboma, who ran 22.39, beating 2019 World 100m bronze medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou from Cote dÍvoire to second place in 22.98 with both setting their sights on Oregon next year.

Two-time world hammer throw champion Paweł Fajdek, who settled for bronze at the Olympics, beat Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki, hauling a new MR of 78.33. Nowicki managed 77.99.

Danish Katrine Koch Jacobsen set a new MR in women’s hammer throw on 71.09 with Milica Gardašević from Serbia also winning women’s long jump in a MR distance of 6.68m.

Men and women’s 3,000m steeplechase failed to produce MRs but it’s the Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali from Morocco and former two-time world under-20 champion Celliphine Chespol, who won in 8:21.20 and 9:30.55 respectively.

In the discretionary events, Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepngétich retained her title in a MR time of 4:02.40 with the World under-20 1,500m champion Vincent Keter going for a similar feat in the men’s race in 3:35.99.

World 5,000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo produced a MR in women’s 5,000m of 14:55.27 but the men’s race failed with Jacob Krop, however, winning in season’s best 13:23.50.