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Athletics

Omanyala draws first blood against Simbine in Germiston

13 April 2022 - 20:42
Akani Simbine at the Tokyo Olympics.
Akani Simbine at the Tokyo Olympics.
Image: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala dipped under 10 seconds as he downed local hero Akani Simbine in their 100m shoot-out at the fourth meet of the Grand Prix series in Germiston on Wednesday night. 

It was a powerful run on a chilly night where the small crowd was also treated by 100m hurdler Marioné Fourie, who finally dipped under 13 seconds in the women’s 100m hurdles, and Clarence Munyai, who dominated a classy 200m line-up. 

The clash between Simbine and Omanyala had been billed as the main attraction of the two-hour show. 

It pitted the African record-holder, Omanyala with a 9.77 sec best, against the previous owner of the continental mark, Simbine on 9.84; the Kenyan upstart against the Commonwealth Games and African champion. 

And it was Omanyala who drew first blood in what will be a long season as he stormed down the track to cross the line in 9.98 sec, well in front of Simbine in 10.11. 

“My target was breaking 10 seconds,” said Omanyala, who got the better of Simbine in their only other race late last season. “I compete against times, not against people.”

But he’s looking at getting the better of Simbine at the African championships in June, the world championships in July and the Commonwealth showpiece in August. 

“I have the African record, but I don’t have any titles. I need titles,” he said, adding he was looking at breaking his mark.

“Definitely. Last year this time I was running 10.1. Now I’m on 9.9. I’m looking forward to getting to 9.6,” added Omanyana, eighth on the all-time list.

Only three men in history have gone under 9.7 — Usain Bolt (9.58), Tyson Gay (9.69) and Yohan Blake (9.69).  

Fourie, whose 12.86 effort in March was scuppered by an illegal tail wind, finally dipped under 13 seconds for real on Wednesday, clocking 12.93 to win by almost a full second ahead of her nearest rival. 

Munyai was in control from early in the men’s 200m, easily winning the race in 20.33 sec, ahead of Benjy Richardson (20.67) and Botswana’s evergreen competitor Isaac Makwala (20.89).

“I came out to do what we’d planned to execute in the race,” said Munyai. “I’m quite happy with the time — 20.33 in this cold. I’ll take it. 

“My drive phase was perfect, my transition coming into the curve was perfect.”

Wenda Nel got the better of last’s week winner Taylon Bieldt in the 400m hurdles, winning in 55.88. 

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