ASA invites African champion Ferdinand Omanyala to push local sprinters

ASA invites African champion Ferdinand Omanyala to push local sprinters

Athletics South Africa has invited African 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala to a few meetings in the hope of pushing local sprinters to meet World Athletics Championship qualifying standards.

Omanyala, a Kenyan national who set the African record by clocking 9.77 seconds in Nairobi, Kenya in 2021, could be the catalyst in helping local sprinters run the 100m qualifying time of 10.00.

"Yes, we have invited him [Omanyala]. We are talking to his manager to discuss his schedule. He is the best sprinter in Africa and will help the likes of Clarence Munyai, Gift Leotlela, and Akani Simbine clock fast times to qualify for the world championships quicker," said ASA high-performance manager Hazekiel Sepeng told SABC Sport.

"He agreed to come here, and it is a matter of agreeing on the dates and races for him to run."

ASA will host the Grand Prix meetings (Continental Tour, Challenger meetings) in Tshwane on 12 April, Germiston on 19 April, and Potchefstroom on 26 April.  

Last year, the 27-year-old Omanyala raced in Potchefstroom and Germiston, winning the 200m and 100m races against Munyai and Simbine respectively.

Sepeng hopes he will this time race in all three races to push the local sprinters to run sub-10 seconds, in order to have a strong contingent in Budapest, Hungary come August.

“We are more concerned with fast times and want to see our sprinters dip under 10 seconds. We hope to get more big name athletes for the Grand Prix series, and so far we can confirm that Omanyala is coming,” assured Sepeng, who further elaborated on the qualifying standards.

"The times are tricky, but it is the same for everyone. They must qualify by the standard qualifying times or the points ranking system, so the more races they run and fast times, they can do it. 

"You can do it by clocking in the required time or securing a place in the top 50 in the world. We have plenty of competitions locally, in Botswana, Kenya, and in the Diamond League to try and qualify."