Kenya’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala will line up in a stellar field that includes Justin Gatlin at the Kip Keino Classic, a leg of the World Athletics Continental Gold Tour which will be staged at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on September 18.
Gatlin has been confirmed for the race alongside Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley, also of the United States. Compatriot Trayvon Bromell who is the fastest man this year over the 100m has also been included in what will be a crème de la crème cast for the Kasarani race.
Omanyala who last month became the first Kenyan to run the 100m below 10seconds will look to break the barrier again on home soil. He comes in to the event with confidence having competed at the Diamond League for the first time ever when he lined up in Brussels last weekend/
Though he finished fourth, he was grateful for the lessons learnt and hopes it propels him to another dynamic in his career.
The presence of a stellar cast in Nairobi might act as a motivation factor for Omanyala, especially with the Kip Keino Classic organizers hoping to drive in at least 20,000 fans into the stadium.
Gatlin, silver medalist from the 2019 World Championships in Doha, who is the fifth all time fastest man, comes in with a rich CV and needs no introduction to the Kenyan crowd.
Bromell will meanwhile look to end his season on a high after the disappointment of missing out on the Olympic final, having only reached the semis despite arriving in Tokyo with the world’s fastest time of 9.77secs.
At the same time, Botswana veteran Isaac Makwala will compete in the men’s 200m and will come up against Under-20 star Sinesipho Dambile who won bronze at the Nairobi event as well as anchoring the South African team to the 4x100m relay gold.
Polish Olympic hammer champion Wojciech Nowicki and women’s steeplechase champion Ugandan Peruth Chemutai as well as Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali have also confirmed participation.
El Bakkali will renew rivalry with the Kenyan contingent after beating them at the Tokyo Olympic Games, ending Kenya’s 37-year dominance in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s Mary Moraa will be the star attraction in the women’s 800m where she is highly tipped to dominate. The last time she raced in Nairobi was at the Olympic Games trials where she emerged victorious.
There will be nine core events during the championships; men and women’s hammer throw, men’s pole vault, women’s long jump, men’s 100m, men and women’s 200m and men and women’s 3,000m steeplechase.
The men and women’s 5,000m, men and women’s 1,500m, men and women’s 800m and men’s javelin throw will fall under the discretionary events.
The men and women’s 400m, men and women’s 400m hurdles, men’s 10,000m, 4x400m mixed relay and men’s high jump will fall under National Category.
Meet Director Barnaba Korir says plans are in top gear to ensure the second edition of the event is held successfully and they will look to follow on the perfection of the World Under-20 Championship.
Athletes are expected to start streaming into the country from Friday next week.