Ferdinard Omanyala leads Kenya at the World Relays

Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala will lead Team Kenya into the World Athletics Relays which start tonight in the North American country of the Bahamas.

Omanyala will be part of the Kenyan men’s 4x100m team at the championship to be held over the next two days at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, the Atlantic island’s capital.

Although this is the first time that Kenya has fielded a men’s 4x100m team at the international biennial athletics championship, hopes are high that the team will plow through to the finals and automatically qualify for the Paris Olympics.

The top 14 teams from each event at the World Athletics Relays automatically qualify for places at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The remaining two Olympic places in each discipline will be awarded based on the world rankings during the qualification period (between December 31, 2022 and June 30, 2024).

Olympic spots will be up for grabs on both days of action in the Bahamas. On day one, the top two teams in each heat will advance to the finals scheduled for day two, while also securing their qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

In the final on day two, teams compete for prize money and placement positions on the Olympic courts.

“When I started as an athlete, my dream was to have a 4x100m at the Olympic Games and that journey started when we won the African title in Mauritius in 2022,” said Omanyala, Commonwealth Games and Africa champion at the 100 meter.

I am not done

“We have also qualified for the 2022 Commonwealth Games to reach the final even though we did not finish after making mistakes in handling the sticks,” Omanyala said, adding that they cannot afford to repeating the mistake this year.

“We hadn’t laughed as a team then, but the bond has become stronger now as we spend more days in camp. I am happy that everyone has dropped their respective programs and embraced one plan for the team,” said Omanyala, explaining that everyone has improved their time.

Omanyala said his teammates are not focusing on who is in their opponents’ teams but on a good performance that will take them into the final.

Mark Otieno, who is also part of the 4x100m team, said: “We have speed and our technique to exchange the sticks was smooth. We have been brothers in training. We did all the drills and made sure we did it right.”

“God willing, we will make history in the Bahamas.”

In addition to Omanyala and Otieno, coach Steven Mwaniki can choose from Hesbon Ochieng, Mike Mokamba and Meshack Babu.

Kenya will have to deal with sprint superpower USA, which won gold in the 4x100m at the World Championships in Budapest last year.

Noah Lyles

World 100m and 200m champion Noah Lyles, who anchored the United States to victory for Italy and Jamaica in the Hungarian capital last year, will once again lead his team with Olympic 200m silver medalist Kenny Bednarek, who is fresh off winning the 100m in the 100m. Kip Keino Classic.

All four men who led Canada to victory in the 4x100m at the 2022 Aetics World Championships – including Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse – will also be in action. The Olympic silver medalists will be keen to make amends after missing out on the World Championships final last year.

Jamaica, which collected bronze in Budapest, has world indoor bronze medalist Ackeem Blake, world finalist Ryiem Forde and World University Games champion Kadrian Goldson.

Kenya failed to reach the mixed relay final in the 2021 edition in Moscow after the team was disqualified. This year the team looks all set to make it to the finals, with Zablon Ekomen, Wiseman Were, Mercy Chebet and Maireen Thomas in the mix.

The US won the world title in Budapest, beating Great Britain and the Czech Republic, but will face the Dominican Republic, winners of the 2022 world title, and the Netherlands.

The United States will be strengthened by the presence of 400m world champion Marileidy Paulino, who already has Diamond League victories to her name in Xiamen and Suzhou this year. Alexander Ogando, who was also part of the triumphant 2022 squad, is also part of Nassau’s team.

Kenya is yet to win any medals in the 4×400 meters relay since the historic victory of Charles Asati, Munyoro Nyamau, Robert Ouko and Julius Sang at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich.

The Kenyan team of Daniel Rudisha, Hezekiah Nyamau, Naftali Bon and Charles Asati had won silver in the 4x400m relay at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

The Kenyan quartet Boniface Mweresa, Vincent Mumo, Boniface Mucheru and Alphas Kishoyian were disqualified from the 2012 Olympic Games in London. That was the last time Kenya had a relay team at the Olympics.