Fast lane: Sha'Carri Richardson on her way to victory on Saturday
Nairobi (AFP) - American sprint star Sha’Carri Richardson signalled her return to form with an easy win in the women’s 200m at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi on Saturday while local sensation Ferdinand Omanyala streaked to a world-leading time this year in the 100m.
Already the fastest woman in the world this year in the 100m, the 23-year-old American obliterated the field to win in a new meet time of 22.07 seconds.
Her victory in the 200m came a week after she won the 100m in a world-leading 10.76 seconds at the season-opening Diamond League meeting in Doha.
“The race was amazing. I came here to Kenya knowing that I have no excuse but to do my best,” said Richardson, who missed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for cannabis at the US trials.
“I know I have more to do for my fans, for my loved ones.”
It was her first victory in the 200m this year after finishing second in the Botswana Grand Prix, the second leg of the World Athletics Continental Gold Tour in Gaborone on April 29.
With her Jamaican sprint rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce pulling out of the Nairobi event after suffering a knee injury on Thursday, Richardson was the star attraction at her maiden appearance in Kenya.
Omanyala also thrilled the home crowd as he beat off rivals including second-placed Kenny Bednarek of the USA in a time of 9.84, the best in the world this season.
Bednarek came in at 9.98 with compatriot Marvin Bracy-Williams third in 10.03.
- ‘Expected better time’ -
But he failed to top his African record of 9.77 seconds set at the same event in 2021, and the 27-year-old Kenyan said he had hoped for a better performance.
“I expected a better time, but it’s a win and a world lead and I am happy about it,” Omanyala told reporters.
“Remember I said I would not lose any 100-metre race this year, That’s the plan.”
He faces the biggest test of his career when he meets Italian Olympic 100m gold medallist Lamont Marcell Jacobs and world champion Fred Kerley of the United States at the Rabat Diamond League in two weeks’ time.
“I don’t look at the competitors. I am just the best there is right now, they are not going to beat me,” declared the Commonwealth gold medallist.
American Twanisha Terry made the most of her compatriot Fraser-Pryce’s absence to win the women’s 100m metres, her second secessive victory in the series.
Terry was unchallenged all the way as she breasted the tape in 10.86 with New Zealand’s Zoe Hobbs a distant second in 10.97 and Rani Rosius of Belgium third in 11.08secs.
Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh continued her domination of the women’s high jump when she leapt to a season best of 2.00 metres.