- Omanyala became the first kenyan in 60 years to win the 100m title
- He has been unbeaten from the heats in Birmingham
- The African record holder has clinched Kenya’s first gold at the Games
Ferdinand Omanyala clinched Kenya’s first gold medal at the Commonwealth Games when he blistered through the 100m final in Birmingham, beating defending champion Akani Simbine of South Africa.
Omanyala clocked 10.02seconds to win the race, with South Africa’s Simbine coming a distant second in a time of 10.13seconds after dipping his torso beyond the line with a tight finish.
The African record holder started off in Lane Three and had a smooth take off, managing to put a gap between himself and the chasing pack before gliding away to victory with a brilliant finishing kick.
He has now become the first Kenyan in 60 years to win the Commonwealth 100m title.
“I know it will take a few days to sink in , but it feels nice to lay my hands on this coveted crown and I am happy about it. I felt confident during the entire time and now I have a Commonwealth title. My aim is to pave the way for many Kenyan sprinters and I know that I will inspire countless others to embrace the sprints. They just needed someone to break the barriers, and I am sure many more talented Kenyans will now come out strongly to prove their mettle to the world,” Omanyala said after clinching the title.
Omanyala beats Simbine for third time
He beat South African Simbine for the third time, having beaten him during the Athletics South Africa 9ASA) Championships and at the Africa Championships in June, where a photo finish was needed to separate the gold from the bronze.
“He (Simbine) has never beaten me so I knew he would not beat me. I had a good start and left him behind and that was a good way to get off the blocks. Now I am laying my eyes on the 4x100m title I hope I can push the guys we take the gold again,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kenya has now won seven medals with Irene Cheptai and Sheila Chepkirui having won silver and bronze earlier on in the women’s 10,000m final.
Cheptai lost a sprint finish to Scotland’s Eilish McColgan who timed 30:48.60 to clinch the title in a Games Record time. McGlogan follows in the footsteps of her mother Liz who won gold in the same event at the 1986 and 1990 Commonwealth Games.
The Kenyan settled for silver in 30:49.52 while Chepkirui held on for third to claim bronze in a time of 31:09.49. Chepkirui had struggled through the last lap after appearing to have picked an injury, but she pushed herself to ensure she earned a medal.
The trio had broken away from the rest of the field with four laps to go, with Cheptai and McColgan exchanging leads. In the final lap, the Scot managed to push in some pace and Cheptai stuck to her like a tick, but in the end it was the home nation girl who endured the burst to win.