Omanyala vs. Lyles: Sprint Superstars Collide in Kingston Grand Prix

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– Ferdinand Omanyala: Kenyan sprinter, African record holder

– Victorious at Commonwealth and African Championships

– Overcame doping suspension, set national records

– Notable achievements: Olympic semifinalist, African champion

African and Commonwealth champion Ferdinand Omanyala will renew his rivalry with triple sprint champion Noah Lyles when the two lock horns at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston, Jamaica.

The meet, which will last two and a half hours, will include competitors participating in 13 events, including the men’s and women’s 100, 200, flat 400 meters, 400 metres hurdles, sprint hurdles, long jump, triple leap, and discuss.

Both Lyles and Omanyala were in action last weekend at the Atalanta City games, Lyles breaking the American record in the 150m race, clocking a 14.41 while Omanyala came second in the 100m race, clocking 10.00 behind South Africa’s Akani Simbine who clocked 9.90.

Lyles won the 150m race in the last edition, clocking 19.67 ahead of second-placed Zharnel Hughes who clocked 20.14. Both athletes will line up in the 100 in this year’s edition.

The Kenyan speedster had to settle for second, behind Lyles when the two met during the Spitzen Leichtathletik Luzern in Switzerland on August 30, 2022, before falling to the American in less than a week at a World Athletics Continental Silver Tour in Zagreb.

Lyles then closely beat Omanyala at the Paris Diamond League in June 2023, clocking 9.97 to Omanyala’s 9.98.

Omanyala will be keen to improve his time ahead of the Paris Olympics.

Hansle Parchment, the Olympic 110 hurdles winner, will be up against American Trey Cunningham, Jamaica’s Tyler Mason, and Damion Thomas, the former under-20 World record holder.

The men’s 200-meter field will include Trinidadian Jareem Richards, Brendon Rodney, Nigel Ellis, and Brian Levell.

Antonio Watson, the defending World 400 meters champion who won the race in Budapest last year, will be joined in the competition by Demish Gaye, Zadrian Barnes, and a returning Jevaughn Francis.

Candice McLeod, Stacy Ann Williams, Cherokee Young, and Juneile Bromfield will compete in the women’s 400-meter race.

Ferdinand Omanyala Profile

Ferdinand Omanyala Omurwa (born 2 January 1996) is a Kenyan sprinter competing in the 60 metres, 100 m and 200 m. In 2022, he won his first international championships, with victories in the 100 m at the Commonwealth Games, and African Championships in Athletics. Omanyala is the African record holder and the ninth-fastest man of all time in the event after clocking a time of 9.77 seconds on 18 September 2021 in Nairobi. He also holds the Kenyan national record in the 60 m.

In 2015, Omanyala began his athletics career in Kenya as a chemistry student the University of Nairobi.

He made this move after a friend noticed his speed while he was playing rugby. He made the switch from rugby to track and only a few weeks later he ran a time of 10.4 s in his first race in Kakamega. The same year, he won the national Olympics trials over the 100 m distance in a time of 10.37 s but never met the qualifying standard for the Olympics which was 10.16 s.

Following a doping offence in 2017 Omanyala received a 14-month suspension. He tested positive for the prohibited substance betamethasone, after undergoing treatment for his back injury which he got during training.

Omanyala won the national title in the 100 metres in 2019.

On 30 March 2021, he set a national record of 10.01 seconds in the 100 m in winning a meeting at Yabatech Sport Complex in Lagos, Nigeria. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics 100 metres semi-final in August that year, he set a new national record of 10.00 seconds.

 Omanyala was 0.04 s behind eventual silver medalist Fred Kerley and 0.02 s behind eventual bronze medalist Andre De Grasse. The same month, he ran a new personal best of 9.86 seconds in Austria, becoming the first Kenyan to ever break the 10-second barrier. In September, he ran a 9.77 seconds (+1.2 m/s) for a new African record at the Absa Kip Keino Classic held in Nairobi, Kenya coming in a close second place behind Trayvon Bromell, who ran a world leading 9.76 s.

In June 2022, Omanyala became African 100 m champion before he was eliminated in the semi-finals of the World Championships held in Eugene, Oregon in July, after arriving at the event only a couple of hours before his first round heat due to visa problems. In August, he claimed Kenya’s first gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, becoming the first Kenyan to win gold in the 100-metre race in 60 years.

National titles

  • Kenyan Athletics Championships
    • 100 metres: 2019, 2022
    • 200 metres: 2022

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