Kenyan teenage 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 world silver medalist's dominant performance at the Kenyan athletics Olympic trials qualified him for the Paris Games.

Only world record holder David Rudisha — Kenya’s two-time Olympic and world champion — and Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer have run faster times.

The 19-year-old Wanyonyi almost failed to qualify for the finals after he was tripped and fell during Friday’s semifinals, where he finished sixth.

"If I didn’t fall yesterday I would not have run 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 seemed to have regained the form that saw him setting the African record of 9.77 during the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi in 2021.

“I feel great but I just feel like we can go faster,” the 28-year-old Omanyala said. “Today was just a confirmation of what is coming because this part of the season we did not do much, it was about touching each and every aspect of the race so now we are going into the Olympic camp and we are going to press even more so I am expecting a very fast time in the Olympics.”

At the Tokyo Games three years ago, Omanyala dropped out in the semifinals.

Faith Kipyegon, double world champion and record holder in the women’s 1500m, won in a time of 3.53.99.

“I wanted to execute and ran as fast as possible because people think you can't ran fast at altitude, and I am really grateful I ran that quick," she said.

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

Women's 800m world champion Mary Moraa qualified for Paris in second place with her sister Sarah Moraa in third.


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