Ferdinand Omanyala: Kenyan hopes World Indoors can help him surpass Usain Bolt's 100m record

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Ferdinand Omanyala at the Tokyo 2020 OlympicsFerdinand Omanyala reached the semi-finals of the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics last year
Dates: 18-20 March Venue: The Stark Arena, Belgrade
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and mobile app; Listen to commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omurwa Omanyala says he is capable of beating Usain Bolt's 100m world record of 9.58 seconds.

The 26-year-old, holds the African record over the 100m with a time of 9.77s, and believes improving over the shorter distance can help him break Bolt's mark.

"I believe nothing is impossible. The world record is not an exception," Omanyala told BBC Sport Africa.

"I believe that if there is anyone who can break that record, it is me.

"You see the African record. When I started sprinting people thought it would never be broken in this millennium or decade. But we did it last year.

"It just needs the perfect race. I have very good acceleration and top-end speed, and now I am improving on my start. Cutting that time won't be hard."

Omanyala's record-setting sprint made him the eighth-fastest man of all time, but came after he served a 14-month doping ban in 2017.

He returned a positive drugs test for a banned substance, and he claims he was a "a victim of circumstance" after taking a painkiller which he said had a steroid in it.

He has run 6.57s over 60m this season as he heads to the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

"I was in France for the tour and I achieved what I wanted," Omanyala said.

"I wanted to run a 6.5 and I did. I am looking forward to dipping under that."

Omanyala believes the 60m can help him achieve his goals over 100m, having reached the semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

"I really love the 100 metres," he added.

"The 60 metres I more or less treat it as training. It is training just to build up towards the 100m and to improve the start.

"I don't put pressure on myself. Every time I compete I want to achieve a target. I have a target I have set so when I achieve the target that is my own personal achievement.

"I don't always look at what the community is putting on me.

"I am looking forward to running fast times and possibly getting under 9.58. We have started at 10.01 in March. So you can imagine in four months, with competition, what will happen."

If he is to win a global title he will have to beat the likes of the Italian 100m Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs and the reigning indoor champion, Christian Coleman from the United States.

African interest in Belgrade

There will be 680 athletes from 137 countries taking part at the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships, which run from Friday to Sunday in Belgrade.

Here are six other Africans to look out for:

  • Selemon Barega (Ethiopia) - The 22-year-old 10,000m Olympic champion aims to better the 3000m silver medal he won at the World Indoors in 2018
  • Lamecha Girma (Ethiopia) - A world and Olympic silver medal-winner in the 3000m steeplechase, the 21-year-old will go up against Bargea in the 3000m
  • Samuel Tefera (Ethiopia) - Aged 22, the 1500m World Indoor record holder defends his gold medal won in Birmingham in 2018
  • Gudaf Tsegay (Ethiopia) - The 5,000m Olympic bronze medallist and 1500m World bronze medallist, 24, goes over the shorter distance
  • Ese Brume (Nigeria) - An Olympic and World bronze medallist, the 26-year-old African champion competes in the women's long jump
  • Halimah Nakaayi (Uganda) - The 27-year-old looks to add the World Indoor 800m title to the World Championships gold she won in Doha in 2019
  • Yasser Triki (Algeria) - The triple jumper is in the world's top 5 for the season with a leap of 16.95m.
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