It had to be Ferdinand Omanyala to soothe the hurting Kenyans hearts.
Omanyala, the Africa 100 metres champion, handed Kenya its first gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games when he dashed to victory in men's 100m on Wednesday here at the Alexander Stadium.
Omanyala made a sterling take off to clock 10.02 seconds to win, beating defending champion Akani Simbine from South Africa to second place in 10.13 sec.
Yupun Abeykoon from Sri Lanka hauled bronze in 10.14 sec.
“We have it…It’s now a reality!” said Omanyala, adding that he has been working for the victory since the beginning of the year.
“We have been looking forward to this and thanks to my team and the Kenyans who have supported me throughout this journey,” explained Omanyala.
“It feels nice, I know it will take days to sink. It feels nice in front of this receptive crowd.”
Omanyala said the victory is a big motivation towards next season where there will be a World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary and the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Omanyala hopes that the victory will continue to inspire and encourage many Kenyans and pave the way for many sprinters to come through in future.
“It needed someone to break the barrier because there will be so many other sprinters coming through. It will have a lot of impact now that I have two championship gold medals and an Africa record,” noted Omanyala, who has personal best of 9.77 seconds.
Omanyala said that he used the challenges he faced towards the just concluded World Athletics Championships in Oregon as a stepping stone to good performance.
Visa hitches saw Omanyala arrive in Oregon just hours before the start of the 100m where he reached the semi-finals. “
It was about moving forward, using the setbacks to focus on the next adventure. Everything happens for a reason,” said Omanyala.
Omanyala explained that the rivalry between himself and Simbine has brought out the beast in him.
“I thank him for keeping me on toes. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn't’ be fighting for anything now,” said Omanyala, who is yet to lose to Simbine.
“Simbine has never beaten me so he couldn’t have done it today. It’s such a blessing. He is a good rival,” said Omanyala.
“I knew I had it when I left him at the blocks. That is what I wanted… to be in front from the start and push to the line.”
Omanyala now turns his focus to the men’s 4x100m where he hopes to anchor his team to victory