•Jacobs has thanked Omanyala for the kind words and gesture after he failed to compete at the Kip Keino Classic
•Omanyala opines a race with Jacobs in it would have been an epic duel
•The African record holder is looking to lower his time with every race in which he competes
Despite clocking a new world lead of 9.85 in the men's 100m, Ferdinand Omanyala says he was looking forward to competing against Olympic champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs at the Kip Keino Classic.
The Italian was set for a titanic clash with Omanyala and Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley at Moi Stadium, Kasarani, but he was taken ill a few hours before the contest.
"Yes, I was looking to see him on that startline and it's unfortunate he had to go through the illness. I wish him a quick recovery and I hope we will meet once again before the World Championships," Omanyala said.
A day before the competition, the two had met at the Kasarani warm-up area, hugging like long-lost brothers as they exchanged pleasantries.
Similarly, Jacobs has thanked the African 100m record holder for his kind gesture and is looking forward to future engagements with him.
"Congratulations on your race. I wish I had been there to race with you. Thanks for coming to visit me and thanks also to your wonderful family and to all the wonderful people there. See you soon," Jacobs said on his Instagram page.
Omanyala was the toast of the day, surging across the finish line ahead of the American pair of Kerley (9.92) and Isaiah Young (10.13) in second and third respectively.
Despite failing to hit the 9.60 he had promised before the race, Omanyala was nonetheless impressed by the good show at Kasarani.
"No, you can't be disappointed with 9.8 because it is equally a very fast time. Now the next step is to build upon this time and reduce it even further to 9.7...then 9.6...9.5...and then 9.4 maybe? So it is basically a step-by-step process," the national 100m record holder.
However, his immediate concern is to lift his first-ever medal of which the opportunity will present itself at next month's Senior African Athletics Championships in Reduit, Mauritius. He says he is hungry for glory.
"I am really hungry for a medal...I will go to Mauritius a hungry person looking to win the African title. Afterward, I want to win a medal at the World Championships. It is quite fortunate that these championships are in the same year so I am looking forward to having a great year," Omanyala said.
He added: "Something I always say is to stay hungry...stay humble. You need to continue training and not to overdo or underdo it. I always listen to my coach because he is a very smart guy. Every race I run the aim will be to lower my time."