The 2022 Kip Keino Classic is set to witness a potentially epic men’s 100m on April 7 in Nairobi with four of the fastest men on the planet from last year will vie for prestigious title.
One of the headline acts, Olympic 100m silver medalist and sprint star, Fred Kerley arrived in Kenya on Wednesday for the third edition of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Label meeting.
Kerley, 26, has the potential to be the fastest man ever on African soil with his advertised rematch with Tokyo 2020 champion, Italian Marcel Jacobs programmed to set the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani tartan track ablaze.
Add Kip Keino Classic champion and fellow American, Trayvon Bromell and Africa record holder and local favourite, Ferdinand Omanyala- the pair who ran 9.76 and 9.77 at the same stadium last fall- to the mix and a sprint classic is on the cards, reports Xinhua.
Speaking to local organisers and reporters after touching down in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, Kerley said he is not fazed by the challenge as he seeks his second victory at the Kip Keino Classic following his 200m victory last year.
“I’m born ready for the competition, I love to compete and that is what I’m here for, to compete with the best,” Kerley said.
Compatriot Trayvon Bromell and Africa record holder and Kenyan favourite, Ferdinand Omanyala – the pair who rocketed to 9.76 and 9.77 seconds in that order at the same stadium last year – are also in the rich Kip Keino men’s 100m field.
“I expect it should be a fast race and a fun race at the same time,” said Kerley who has won the complete set of World Championships gold, silver and bronze in his career.
Having accomplished his personal best of 19.76 seconds in the punishing elevation of Nairobi on his way to winning the men’s 200m title at the 2021 Kip Keino Classic, the American returns to the event that he feels will be a springboard to “a very fast season” in the sprints.
“It’s wonderful to be back, I set my personal best time at the end of my season last year, it’s wonderful to be back where I ended my season last year,” he emphasized.
The American caused a minor stir at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when he landed in a testament of his growing fan base in this part of the world, something he relished as he happily posed for photos with the adoring public.
The Doha 2019 Worlds relay gold medalist further welcomed the news that thousands of fans will be allowed to witness the 2022 Kip Keino Classic unfold on Saturday.
Restrictions placed for the previous two editions due to the global pandemic were relaxed by the Kenyan government earlier this year.
It is this kind of energy he believes will drive him to accomplish his cherished dream this season- turning silver to gold at the Oregon 2022 World Championships in his native America.
“It would mean a lot. The first time the World Championships will be on home soil, so Americans we really get to travel so much but this time we shall be on home ground. I’m sure I’m going to turn it (silver at Tokyo 2020) to gold,” Kerley said.
Jamaican sprint queen, Shelly Ann Frayser-Price is another headline act expected to arrive for the event later Wednesday.
A slew of Olympic and world champions will be running at the Kip Keino Classic that was added to the Continental Tour Gold Label series in 2020 as the only event in Africa with that status.
Organisers are expecting over 50,000 spectators to pack the Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani stadium that hosted the 2017 World Under 17 and 2020 World Under 20 championships