Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala, Africa’s fastest man, is eager to deliver a fast performance in the 100m at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston, Jamaica, later today. The 28-year-old will face World Champion Noah Lyles, Jamaica’s Oblique Seville, and Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes in a highly anticipated race expected to be the highlight of the meet.

At a press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston on Friday, Omanyala discussed his goals and the significance of competing in Jamaica.

“Since the start of the season, I haven’t had good weather to run in because I have been running in rain, cold weather, so I’m happy I’m in Jamaica and it’s very hot," Omanyala said. "Looking at my previous runs in hot weather, my best one was in Botswana where I ran 9.78, so I am looking forward to running and I am looking for a very fast time.”

Omanyala expressed his excitement about finally making it to Jamaica after multiple invitations.

“I am happy to be in Jamaica. I’ve been invited more than twice, so I’m glad I made it this time because it’s far from home. I am glad at this time it came up at a point where we are having our US tour, so it was close, and I am happy to be here. I’ve been told I have so many fans, so I want to see that on Saturday.”

The Kenyan sprinter also explained why he has set his sights on Usain Bolt’s 100m world record of 9.58 seconds, set in August 2009 at the Berlin World Championships.

“When I started running, the African record was far, and nobody thought that it could be broken, but we broke it twice. So, the same thing I say for all records—it is not that it is impossible, so we’ll get there,” said Omanyala, who holds the African record of 9.77 seconds set at the Kip Keino Classic in 2021.

With favorable weather conditions and a strong field of competitors, Omanyala is poised to make a significant impact at the Racers Grand Prix. Fans are eagerly awaiting his performance, hoping to witness a thrilling race and potentially record-breaking time.



Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes and Dina Asher-Smith took victories in the men’s and women’s 200m events at the inaugural Jamaica Athletics Invitational at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

Hughes, a bronze medallist in the 100m at last year’s World Championships in Budapest, produced a season’s best 19.96 to win ahead of American Fred Kerley (20.17) and France’s Pablo Mateo (20.20).

“I feel really good. I think this is my second 200m race of the season. When I opened up I wasn’t ready so tonight I was just testing out the waters. We’re starting to sharpen up but not as much because it’s a long season,” Hughes said after the race.

“To run 19.96 now, I’m very happy. I just need to stay healthy and continue to execute my races accordingly and everything will be okay,” he added.

2019 World Champion Asher-Smith narrowly won the women’s event in 22.51 ahead of the Ivory Coast’s Jessika Gbai (22.53) with Jamaica’s Lanae-Tava Thomas running 22.84 for third.

Asher-Smith says she was hoping for a quicker time and has some things to work on.

“I’m in really good shape so I was hoping to get a quicker time today. Clearly, I’ve got some stuff that I’ve got to work on so I’m going to go back to Austin and work on them but I’m happy to have won here in Jamaica,” she said.

Take it from the incomparable Usain Bolt that the race for the men’s 100m title at this summer’s Paris Olympic Games will be wide open, as he is yet to identify any clear favourite to stake a claim on the coveted gold medal.

Bolt, whose words carries the weight of his unparalleled legacy, gave his views on the possible Olympic outcome, as he also shared thoughts on the progress of male sprinting in Jamaica, which he believes remains alive with the emergence of Rohan Watson, Oblique Seville, Ackeem Blake, Ryiem Forde, and Kadrian Goldson, in particular.

Seville has been the main protagonist on that list, as he has consistently knocked at the door of a global 100m medal over the years. He placed fourth at both the 2020 Olympic Games and last year’s World Championships.

The 23-year-old’s rise from promising newcomer to bona fide contender has captured the imagination of Jamaican track and field enthusiasts at home and abroad. With blistering speed and unwavering determination, Seville has carved out a name for himself as one of Jamaica's most promising talents, and along with the others, carries the hopes of a nation known for its sprinting prowess.

“I think these athletes represent our chances, but it is all about execution. I think over the past years, it (Jamaica’s male sprinting) has been struggling, but I do think that Oblique has been keeping it alive,” Bolt, the ambassador for Red Stripe’s ‘Guh Fi Gold and Glory’ campaign, told journalists during the event’s launch in Half Way Tree on Wednesday.

“He has made all the finals so far; it is just for him to now get in the top three. And I think it's just consistency. I think the one thing with Oblique is that he always gets injured, but hopefully he can be consistent this season and stay on the right path and he'll be fine. So, I'm just looking forward to seeing them,” the iconic sprinter added.

Though American Noah Lyles, who copped the sprint double at last year's World Championships, has been a dominant force, his compatriots Fred Kerly, silver medallist at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, and Christian Coleman are also prominent contenders, while the young generation of Jamaican sprinters –Watson, Seville, Blake, and Goldson –have also entered the conversation.

Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, and Botswana's Letsile Tebogo, are also expected to be in the mix in Paris, while Italy’s Marcell Jacobs and Canada’s Andre De Grasse, the gold and bronze medallists from the 2020 Games in Tokyo, are yet to enter the fray ahead of the global multi-sport showpiece.

While it is still early days yet, Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist and the world’s fastest man over 100m and 200m, expressed optimism about Seville’s Olympic Games medal prospects, as he believes the young sensation has proven that he can match strides with those names on the list.

“Let's see what happens. I think it's early. No one is doing anything, and I haven't seen anything impressive so far. So, I think it is still wide open. I am really hoping Oblique can break into the top three this time around. I think he has always worked hard over the years, and he is always in the final and always doing well. So hopefully, he will break into the top three,” Bolt said.

On that note, Bolt, who is looking forward to a second Olympic Games as a spectator since his retirement in 2017, believes the athletes stand ready to write the next chapter in the country’s storied history of success.

“Overall, we all have high hopes. The throwers, jumpers, everybody. Everyone is doing well, and you can see where they are stepping up. The medal tally will be good as always. Jamaica always shows up. We always get at least five medals, and I think we are aiming to get eight to 10 medals in Paris,” he shared.

“I think the athletes will (maintain their performance). Jamaica is always up there. We are still the sprint capital of the world, and I think we will continue to dominate,” Bolt ended.

Winning a first global individual medal at last year’s World Championships whetted Zharnel Hughes’s appetite for more success, and so it comes as no surprise that the Anguillan-born Great Britain sprint sensation is strongly optimistic about clinching a medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.

In fact, if Hughes’s confidence to top his performances from last year is anything to go by, then he could very well accomplish the feat, provided he maintains a clean bill of health throughout the season.

During last year’s electrifying campaign, which ended with his World Championships bronze in the men’s 100m final, Hughes broke Olympic champion Linford Christie’s 100m British national record when he clocked a personal best 9.83 seconds at the New York Grand Prix, in June.

A month later, at the UK Athletics Championship, Hughes ran a brisk 19.77s, which is faster than John Regis’s national 200m record, but the time was wind-aided and, as such, was recognised as a record. However, Hughes, with his superb form, inevitably established a new record when he clocked a wind-legal 19.73s at the London Diamond League.

With that in mind, coupled with his relentless work ethic and resolute pursuit of excellence, Hughes is poised to make another significant impact on the world stage this year. Whether or not it will be an Olympic gold medal triumph is left to be seen.