Omanyala; the new bad boy of Kenyan sports, or just a slip of the tongue?

New kid on the block, sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala, has no doubt been a breathe of fresh air in the athletics world in the country. Kenyans are used to long-distance runners whenever it comes to matters of track and field, but for the first time, we are experiencing the spectacle of a sprinter. However, the Olympics 100 meters semifinalist made some startling remarks when he exposed email details allegedly from an IAAF female official to him. Whether this is perhaps a strategy by his team to brand him with a bad-boy image, or if it was a slip of the tongue by a young boy mesmerised by sudden stardom, one thing is certain, IAAF may very well issue a response soon.

The University of Nairobi alumni was speaking while making an appearance on Citizen TV’s weekly interactive show Jeff Koinange Live, which is hosted by Jeff Koinange himself. Omanyala was joined later on in the show by his wife.

While reflecting on the journey that has been his rise from obscurity to being among one of the topmost athletes in the world, Omanyala said one of the most trying and even discouraging moments for him as a runner was when he ran at an impressive time of 10.1 in Nigeria.
However, their joy and happiness at this impressive feat was ruined after they received an email from a female representative of the World Athletics body who refused to ratify the time, claiming that there was no way they could possibly ascertain the time with certainty. In what then went on to sound like a statement loaded with prejudice, and which may be easily deemed offensive, especially coming from an international body with the stature of World Athletics, the woman allegedly expressed reluctance in ratifying a time that was gotten in Nigeria.

He nevertheless capped it all off by saying that the story had a happy ending as records suddenly started falling to him like domino pieces, and all, in major events. He recalled how he clocked 10.02 at the Olympics Trials in Kasarani, then his famous time in Japan, before dipping in to sub-ten in Australia, and crowning all this with the incredible 9.77 that he clocked recently at the Continental Golden Tour in Kasarani.

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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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