Sprinters who could dethrone Omanyala at African Championships

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024 12:40 | By
Ferdinand Omanyala in past action. PHOTO/(@athletics_kenya)/Athletics Kenya/Twitter.
Ferdinand Omanyala in past action. PHOTO/(@athletics_kenya)/Athletics Kenya/Twitter.

African record holder and the world’s ninth fastest man, Ferdinand Omanyala, may have reasons to worry ahead of this year’s African Championships.

The Kenyan sprinter set the African record with a time of 9.77 seconds at the Kipchoge Kipkeino Classic in September 2021 and has held it since. However, recent developments in the African sprint scene will raise concerns within Omanyala’s camp, as formidable challengers have emerged with impressive times this season.

Omanyala's toughest opponent

At the forefront is South African Olympian Akani Simbine. Simbine and Omanyala first faced off at the Atalanta City Games this year, where Simbine clocked 9.90 seconds, while Omanyala finished second with 10.00. Simbine has been on hot form since, most notably clocking 9.94 in Oslo, ahead of Olympic medalist Jacobs Marcels and the in-form Japanese sprinter Sani Brown.

Geoffrey Kimani coaching Ferdinand Omanyala. PHOTO/ Geoffrey Kimani/X
Geoffrey Kimani coaching Ferdinand Omanyala. PHOTO/Geoffrey Kimani/X

Simbine opened his season with a win at the Shanghai Diamond League meet. Meanwhile, Omanyala ran his season-best of 9.98 in Eugene on May 25, finishing behind the USA’s Coleman, who led with 9.95. Simbine, who finished fourth in both the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has declared his intent to make a strong push towards the Paris Olympics.

Esse Emmanuel

Another significant contender is the 2023 African champion, Esse Emmanuel. The 30-year-old has made waves this season, winning the Stockholm Diamond League meet with a time of 10.16 and the Rabat Diamond League with a 10.11, ahead of De Grasse Andre and Yohan Blake.

Esse also clocked his fastest time of the season, 10.01, finishing third in Oslo behind Sani Brown and Simbine. His intention to break the 10-second barrier heading into the African Championships makes him a serious threat.

Letsile Tebogo

World silver medalist Letsile Tebogo is also a strong contender for the African title this year. The 20-year-old was part of the Botswana team that won the 4x400m at the World Relay Championships in the Bahamas, securing an Olympic ticket in the process.

Tebogo ran an inspiring 43.49 split on leg two, helping his team narrowly beat South Africa. His exploits in both the 100m and 200m races put him in strong contention for the African title.

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