Injury has forced Jamaican sprint star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to withdraw from a weekend athletics meet in Kenya that would have signalled the start of her international season.
“I am deeply disappointed to share that I will not be competing at the Kip Keino Classic,” the 36-year-old Fraser-Pryce said in a statement yesterday, the eve of the event in Nairobi.
“I was truly looking forward to kick off my season at one (of) the greatest athletic events in East Africa,” she added.
Kip Keino Classic director Barnabas Korir said Fraser-Pryce suffered a knee injury during training at Nairobi’s Kasarani stadium. The women’s five-time world 100m champion had thrilled the Kenyan crowd at the Kip Keino last year with a sizzling 10.67 second victory.
“It’s unfortunate that one of the biggest attractions, Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will take no further part in the Kip Keino Classic after injuring her knee while in training on Thursday,” Korir told AFP.
He said she was undergoing treatment in Milan, and voiced hope she would be fit for the World Championships in Budapest in August.
“She is a truly consummate competitor, it would have been nice to see her again after her tantalising performance last year.”
Fraser-Pryce’s American rival Sha’Carri Richardson is expected to run in the 200 metres on Saturday in her first competition in Kenya after pulling out of the event last year. Richardson, 23, won the 100m at the opening Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha last week.
‘You ain’t seen nothing yet!’Kenyan sprint star Ferdinand Omanyala said at a press conference on Friday he is aiming to beat his African 100m record of 9.77 seconds set at the Kip Keino nearly two years ago.
The 27-year-old will be lining up against American Kenny Bednarek, the Olympic 200m silver medallist who has a personal best of 9.98 seconds, and Aaron Brown, a member of the Canadian 4x100m relay silver medal-winning team at the Tokyo Olympics.
“I have run very good 100m times this year,” Omanyala said. “If you think you have seen me run fast, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
“It has taken too long to break the Africa record. If the conditions are good tomorrow with warm temperatures and no rains, then everything will fall in place.”
The Kenyan’s biggest test is likely to come at the Rabat Diamond League event on May 28 where he will face Italian Olympic 100m gold medallist Lamont Marcell Jacobs and world champion Fred Kerley of the United States.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh said she hoped to put the war in her homeland behind her and achieve a personal best in Kenya.
The 2022 world silver medallist will compete against her compatriot Yulia Levchenko and Britain’s Laura Zialor.
“I expect this year to be my best season,” said the 21-year-old Mahuchikh, who now lives in Germany after fleeing Ukraine because of the conflict.