When it comes to this whole new phenomenon that is 100m sprint champion Ferdinand Omanyala, Kenyans might have to take a while before getting used to him. Traditionally, the country has grown accustomed to long-distance runners who, for the most part, are usually humble to a fault despite them being world-class athletes. The likes of marathon god Eliud Kipchoge and road icon Brigid Kosgey. However, the 100m discipline is a different ballgame that hails image as everything. From Maurice Green to Usain Bolt, sprinters have always gone for a macho and braggadocio image.
Omanyala has been making pronouncements that might come across as arrogant to some, or rude to others, but what most of his compatriots may not know is that this is how it’s done in the sprinting world.
Recently he was asked if he believes he would have stood a chance had he come face to face with sprinting legend Usain Bolt before his retirement. His answer was quite corky. He said there’s no question about it. He said he would have beaten him since by the time Bolt was retiring he was doing 9:90, yet he had just done 9:77.
This week, the 100m national champion, and also the African 100m record holder, made an appearance on Citizen TV’s weekly popular show, Jeff Koinange Live. He was joined later on the show by his wife, as both were interviewed by Jeff.
During the interactive session of the show, one of the viewers praised Omanyala for breaking new ground as far as sprinting in Kenya is concerned, and even suggested that Kakamega’s Bukhungu stadium which was famously renovated to super standards by outgoing Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya should be named after him.
Seeing that comment, he chuckled shyly, and everyone, including Jeff Koinange probably thought that he would then proceed to downplay the kind suggestion.
However, when he spoke, he of course began by thanking the fan and acknowledging his belief in him, before going ahead to unequivocally support his sentiments, saying that he fully agreed with him, and indeed the Kakamega stadium should be named after him.
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