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Teen Runner Emmanuel Wanyonyi Shines at Kenyan Olympics Trials

NAIROBI – In a stunning display of resilience and speed, 19-year-old Emmanuel Wanyonyi clocked the fastest 800 meters time since 2012 at the Kenyan Athletics Olympics Trials on Saturday. His time of 1:41.70 secures him a spot at the Paris Games and places him as the third-fastest man ever in the event.

Wanyonyi’s remarkable performance came after a dramatic near-miss in the semi-finals on Friday, where he tripped and fell. “If I didn’t fall yesterday I would not have run like this today, so everything happens for a reason,” he reflected post-race.

Only Kenya’s two-time Olympic champion, David Rudisha, and Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer have recorded faster times. Rudisha holds the world record of 1:40.91 and has also run the second and third fastest times, while Kipketer’s best is 1:41.11.

Saturday’s trials also saw sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala qualify for the Kenyan team, setting a world-leading time of 9.79 seconds in the men’s 100 meters. Omanyala appears to have regained the form that saw him set the African record of 9.77 seconds at the 2021 Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi. “I feel great but I just feel like we can go faster. Today was just a confirmation of what is coming because this part of the season we did not do much,” the 28-year-old remarked.

Middle- and long-distance runner Faith Kipyegon also secured her place in the Paris Games. The double Olympic champion won both the 1500 meters and 5000 meters races at the trials. Kipyegon completed the 1500 meters in 3:53.99, just shy of her world record time of 3:49.11. “I wanted to execute as fast as possible and see what was possible at the finish line. Because people think that you can’t run fast at high altitudes, but I wanted to see if I can run fast or if the weather is going to affect me in any way,” she explained.

Kipyegon aims to maintain her current form heading into the Olympics, looking forward to a successful summer in Paris where she will chase two medals. Women’s 800m world champion Mary Moraa also qualified for Paris, finishing second, with her sister Sarah Moraa placing third.

The athletics competition at the Olympics will take place at the Stade de France in Paris from August 1-11.

©️ All East Africa

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