Samwel Bitonyake Imeta was the surprise runner of the second Athletics Kenya track and field meeting staged at the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday, February 25.
The 24-year-old broke into the limelight when he produced a monstrous performance to become the second Kenyan ever to clock under 10:00 seconds in the 100m race. He had a personal best of 10.12 before Saturday’s event.
Imeta, who is a member of the Kenya Defence Forces, crossed the finishing line in 9:94 seconds to register a second-place finish behind Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omurwa Omanyala.
Omanyala crossed the finishing line in a world-leading time of 9.81 seconds.
According to the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K), Imeta has earned a slot in Kenya’s team for the upcoming 2023 World Athletics Championships scheduled to take place in Bathurst, Hungary in August.
“Samwel Imeta becomes the second Kenyan to join the Sub 10 Club with a personal best of 9.94 and has qualified for World champs in Budapest,” a statement from NOC-K.
Prior to his heroics at the Nyayo National Stadium, Imeta was a little-known figure around the country.
Samwel Imeta’s Profile
Samwel Imeta was born on Thursday, July 26, 1998.
Just like his 100m rival Omanyala, he started his career as a rugby player and went on to feature in the national league with the Nakuru RFC.
It was at Nakuru RFC that he earned his popular nickname "Kifaru" due to his aggressive style of play.
Kifaru is a Swahili name for Rhino - an animal that can become hostile when provoked.
However, after realizing how fast he was on a rugby pitch, Imeta switched to athletics where he is continuing to build a name for himself.
Imeta, who is a one-time African champion, has represented the nation on numerous occasions.
The former Nakuru RFC speedy winger was part of the Kenyan 4x100m relay squad that won a gold medal at the 2022 African Championships staged in Mauritius.
The other members of that star-studded team included Dan Kiviasi, Mike Mokamba and Omanyala.
Imeta also represented the country at the successful 2022 Commonwealth Games staged in Birmingham, United Kingdom.