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Fraser-Pryce, Omanyala dazzle as Kip Keino Classic delivers the Nairobi Magic

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Shelly Anne Fraser Pryce
  • Fraser Pryce and Omanyala won the 100m titles
  • The Kip Keino Classic was attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta
  • This is the third edition of the Continental Gold Tour meet

Sprinters Shelly Anne Fraser-Pryce and Ferdinand Omanyala brought the house down literally, storming to world leading victories at the third edition of the Kip Keino Classic at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Saturday.

The two were the clear crowd favourites for the one-day event, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, who graced the entire five-hour long event, to witness some of the best athletics action around.

Fraser-Pryce was in her own world, storming a world leading time of 10.67secs to win the women’s 100m race. The Jamaican three-time Olympic champion commanded the race with a fantastic spring off the blocks.

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Shelly Anne Fraser Pryce competing in the 100m

“It was really great to come down here to Kenya and compete and this was a great race for me. It was my first race of the season and setting a world leading time was definitely a great achievement for me. I know this will spur me heading into the season and of course leading to the World Championships,” Fraser-Pryce said after the race.

Namibian youngster Christine Mboma who had been billed to put up a resounding challenge to the Jamaican had a heartbreaking race as she stumbled off halfway after appearing to have pulled her hamstring.

Mboma had been running side by side to Fraser-Pryce, but she dragged her foot before stumbling on to the track in a lot of pain.

Hemida Bassant of Egypt finished second in a Personal best time of 11.02secs while Ray Shannon of the USA timed 11.33secs at third spot.

Meanwhile in the 200m, Nigerian Seyni Aminatou waded off two Americans to win the race in a Personal Best time of 22.43secs with Shannon Ray of the USA also clocking a personal best time of 22.84secs and compatriot Dezerea Bryant clocking 22.92secs at third.

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Ferdinand Omanyala is congratulated by President Uhuru Kenyatta after winning the 100m race. PHOTO/Capital FM

In the show-stopping men’s 100m, Kenya’s Omanyala zoomed to an astounding 9.85secs in a race that had to be restarted after a faulty start. Omanyala beat Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley who clocked 9.92secs.

The first attempt at the start was called off due to a faulty start, but when the athletes went off to a clean start, it was Omanyala who had a better rise at the halfway mark before storming to victory and birthing a huge applause in the stadium.

“Today it wasn’t about the time for me but about winning. Last year I was second but this time, my target was to come here and win the race. I am really pleased with that and I feel that my body is in great shape,” noted Omanyala.

Kerley who finished second said; “It was an amazing race and of course coming down here and getting to run sub-10 is good enough for me. It propels me into the season and hopefully I can keep improving heading into the World Championship.”

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Ferdinand Omanyala storms to victory in the men’s 100m

Meanwhile, there were more world leading performances from the event.

In the women’s 800m, South Africa’s Prudence Sekgodiso timed 1:58.41 to win the race ahead of Kenya’s Mary Moraa, who won the event last year. The South African powered ahead of the pack with 200m to go and put daylight between herself and the rest.

Moraa had been fourth heading into the homestretch but she dug deep into her energy reserves to power home in  1:59.25, the fastest time she has clocked this year. Naomi Korir was third while reigning world champion Halima Nakaayi of Uganda was fifth.

In the men’s 1500m, Abel Kipsang who finished fourth at the Olympic Games clocked a world leading time of 3:31.01 to win the race ahead of Reynold Kipkorir while former World Junior champion Kumari Taki was third in 3:36.73.

Kenyan-turned Kazakhstani Norah Jeruto meanwhile timed 9:04.95 to a world leading finish in the women’s steeplechase, finishing ahead of Faith Cherotich who set a personal best time of 9:12.04 and Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai of Uganda.

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