World Athletics Continental Tour gold: Ferdinand Omanyala and Shelly-Ann Fraser win big

“I’m that kind of athlete who really likes the hype,” Ferdinand Omanyala said amid laughs. He had just finished his race, headed to the mixed zone and hugged the reporters he knew, before letting out his cheat code for the races at JoySports.

He blinked, lowered his head and raised it. In all of this, he kept talking. He continued, with his body moving left, forward right. A gesture accompanying the message it conveys.

“…and when the event is built around the hype, it gives me tension and adrenaline,” noted the 26-year-old.

Omanyala indeed loves the hype. On his Twitter page, he continued to update his followers. One hour into the race, he asked “…are you ready, Team Kenya?”

He was ready to hit the tracks and needed those creating the hype to let the atmosphere flow. It was a partisan crowd. A mob here to encourage their man to succeed and choke his competitors to death.

Alongside American Fred Kerley, an Olympic silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, the African 100m record holder rushed down the hall to enthusiastic cheers and applause from the fans.

He knew what he was doing. To let tension and adrenaline work simultaneously.

Things don’t happen by chance. They are created. And Omanyala needed to create an atmosphere that animates him.

When he did, he captured the emotions of his people who were patriotic with his support and had fun at the House of Heroes.

He’s a hero. He knows it and says he wants to leave a legacy.

“I want to leave a legacy. I’m here to show the world that Kenyans can sprint.

Minutes earlier, he was almost on the verge of leaving no legacy before his people as the stadium was dead. The fears and anxiety that were palpable grew among the followers of this track beast as the athletes were called back with the gun yet to be drawn, but they fled.

Fred Kerley and Ferdinand Omanyala lead the 100m final

The fear was one: a false start that could lead to the disqualification of their precious set. A few moments later, all the athletes received a green card, representing a bad start and not a false start.

When the shot was finally fired for this unforgettable encounter, Omanyala, who was the fastest in this contest, took an unassailable lead. There was a first, a stride, a second, a third, and so on.

With about 43 strides, he crossed the finish line. It wasn’t a photo-finish, even though Kerley was close.

The stadium exploded. If there had been a roof on this cathedral, it would have been completely torn off. The clock read 9.85 (2.0 m/s).

Unconfined ecstasy. The Omanyala name breathed through the stadium speakers.

President Uhuru Kenyata stood up. His wife followed. The members of his cabinet present could not be forgotten.

It’s not the best time for this local hero, but it’s still a victory. A victory they wanted, a victory they got. A result that whets their appetite. And they celebrated without borders.

“…it’s something I love and I hope all other competitions will be like here [in Kasarani]he says of expectations.

Fred Kerley, a man many feared would spoil the party when Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs withdrew with a stomach problem, clocked 9.92 while Isaiah Young, also of the United States , managed 10.13. Brunt Jese Hendricho (10.13) from South Africa and Matidi Emmanuel (10.14) from Liberia.

women’s race

When world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce arrived in Kenya, the Nation Africa website had a headline that read:

Lead the way Nairobi, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is in town.

Fraser-Pryce was indeed in town and the Kenyans led the way. Her presence resonated with every turn she took before hitting the track. She was greeted by her lovers who had “Fraser Pryce” brand shirts.

World Athletics Continental Tour gold: Ferdinand Omanyala and Shelly-Ann Fraser win big
A Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce fan at Kasarani Stadium

And when she took to the slopes to compete for the first time on Kenyan soil, the cheers were deafening. At 35, Fraser Pryce’s long and successful career is at its twilight, but she delighted thousands of House of Heroes fans with a 10.67 (-0.4m/s).

It was a race that was celebrated as if it were a local. It was a race that was not only a meeting record but was also a Kenyan record for all comers and the fastest season opener of any 100m sprinter in history.

World Athletics Continental Tour gold: Ferdinand Omanyala and Shelly-Ann Fraser win big
Fraser Pryce wins Kip Keino women’s 100m final

She moved from one end of the stadium to bow to these lovely fans in recognition of their support.

“It was very good, the atmosphere was fantastic,” said Fraser-Pryce.

“I don’t know if it was perfect – I’d have to see the replay. But time tells me my training went well,” she notes after posting her third run under 10.7 in 12 months.

Olympic 200m silver medalist Christine Mboma was able to finish the race with a shot. She was later seen on crutches.

Egypt’s Bassant Hemida set a national record of 11.02 in second place. American Shannon Ray finished third in 11.33.

Elsewhere, Canadian Aaron Brown won the men’s 200m in a wind-assisted 20.05 (2.1m/s) and Nigerian Aminatou Seyni won the women’s event in a national record 22.43 (-1 .0 m/s). Britain’s Laura Zialor won the high jump countdown to Ukrainian Oksana Okuneva, with both women clearing 1.91m.

Emmanuel Wanyonyi, returning to the scene of his U20 world triumph, took the lead of the men’s 800m field in the final 150 meters and took victory in 1:45.01.

One of the most surprising performances of the day came from South Africa’s Prudence Sekgodiso, who won the women’s 800m by a huge margin in a lifetime best 1:58.41.

The 20-year-old’s best before the race was 2:01.40. Kenyan duo Mary Moraa and Naomi Korir finished second (1:59.87) and third (2:00.06) respectively, the latter setting a PB.

To note: The last three paragraphs of this article were written by World Athletics.

Full results are in the link below.

About Walter J. Leslie

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