Kenyan teen sensation Wanyonyi becomes third fastest man in 800m as he qualifies for Olympics

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan teenager Emmanuel Wanyonyi ran the fastest 800 meters since 2012 and his time of 1:41.70 on Saturday makes him the third-fastest man ever in the event.

The 2023 silver medalist’s dominant performance at the Olympic athletics trials in Kenya qualified him for the Paris Games.

Only world record holder David Rudisha – two-time Olympian and world champion from Kenya – and the Danish Wilson Kipketer have run faster times.

Wanyonyi, 19, almost failed to qualify for the finals after tripping and falling during Friday’s semi-finals, where he finished sixth.

“If I hadn’t fallen yesterday, I wouldn’t have been running like this today, so everything happens for a reason,” Wanyonyi said.

Rudisha holds the world record of 1:40.91 and has also run the second and third fastest times, followed by Kipketer with the fourth fastest time of 1:41.11.

Ferdinand Omanyala set the world-leading time in the men’s 100 meters and qualified to represent Kenya in Paris. He ran 9.79 seconds and appeared to have regained the form that saw him set the African record of 9.77 at the 2021 Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi.

“I feel great, but I just feel like we can go faster,” said the 28-year-old Omanyala. “Today was just a confirmation of what is to come, because this part of the season we didn’t do much, it was about touching every aspect of the race, so now we go into the Olympic camp and we are going to apply even more pressure . so I expect a very fast time at the Olympic Games.”

At the Tokyo Games three years ago, Omanyala dropped out in the semi-finals.

Faith Kipyegon, two-time world champion and record holder in the women’s 1500 meters, won in a time of 3:53.99.

“I wanted to run and run as fast as I could because people think you can’t run fast at high altitudes, and I’m very grateful that I ran that fast,” she said.

Kipyegon said she hopes she can maintain her current form heading into the Olympics.

Women’s 800m world champion Mary Moraa qualified for Paris in second place, while her sister Sarah Moraa came third.

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Olympic Games AP: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games