Kenya’s star sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala said Thursday he is targeting a 100-metre time of 9.6 seconds this season in the lead-up to the world athletics championships in Budapest in August.
The 27-year-old African record holder and Commonwealth champion wants to get closer to Usain Bolt’s world-beating time of 9.58sec.
Omanyala set the African men’s 100m record in September 2021 when he clocked a time of 9.77 seconds at a meeting in Nairobi.
He told AFP during a training session at a stadium in the Kenyan capital that he plans to launch his record attempt in South Africa early next month.
Omanyala will take part in three meetings starting in Pretoria on April 12, alongside his two new training partners, Henricho Bruintjies of South Africa and Sharry Dodin of Seychelles.
After dashing to 9.94, 9.86 and 9.81sec in two days at the Kenyan track and field meeting in February, the Kenyan police officer said he believes he can achieve his ambitious target.
“I started the season well with three fast times. I am confident I will run a 9.6 seconds before the world championships,” said Omanyala.
“I intend to achieve the target either in South Africa, at the Kip Keino classic in Nairobi on May 13, or in Budapest, to atone for the disappointment of missing a medal at the last world championships in Eugene, Oregon.”
Omanyala had great hopes for Oregon but he only arrived hours before his first heat because of a delay in securing a US visa.
Jamaican star Bolt set the world record of 9.58 seconds at the 2009 world championships in Berlin, and only two men have come close to that -- Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay have both run 9.69.
In May 2022, Omanyala recorded a time of 9.85sec at the Nairobi Kip Keino classic, defeating American Fred Kerley, the current world 100m champion and Olympic silver medallist.
In February Omanyala set a new Kenyan record over 60m indoors in France, beating Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy into second place.