Kenya’s Omanyala targets Usain Bolt’s 100m record

Thursday September 23 2021
Omanyala

Ferdinand Omanyala has become Africa's fastest man

By Nation. Africa

Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala can now dare to dream big.

The 25-year-old wants to take a shot at Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt’s World Record of 9.58 seconds in 100 metres before the end of the 2022 athletics season.

“It’s all about dreams, and living to achieve them. I have realised that there is nothing impossible in this world if you commit yourself. It starts in the mind,” said Omanyala, who is also targeting the World Indoor 60m title as well as the Commonwealth Games 100m crown.

Omanyala spoke Wednesday at Sarova Stanley Hotel, Nairobi where his sponsor, gaming firm Odibets, rewarded him with a Toyota Harrier worth Sh100 million for his exploits.

The World Indoor Championships will be held on March 18-20 in Belgrade, Serbia, while the Commonwealth Games are due on July 28 to August 8, 2022 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

“I intend to go for some indoor build up races in Europe in February to polish my starts before the world event,” said Omanyala, who has already qualified for the World Athletics Championships due July 15-24 in Eugene, Oregon, United States.

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Omanyala, who was accompanied by his wife and fellow sprinter Laventer, and father, Dishon Omurwa, said: “You grab the opportunity when it presents itself and this is the time for me to seize it.”

Odibets’ General Manager Dedan Mungai, who handed him the car, said that it will also ease his movement while going for training. Mungai promised to award Omanyala a better car if he breaks the World Record.

The car given to the star sprinter has a registration number plate KDE 977 to symbolise Omanyala’s new African and national record time.

Omanyala dashed to a new African record time of 9.77 seconds when he finished second behind American Trayvon Bromell in the men’s 100m during the Absa Kip Keino Classic, World Athletics Continental Tour last Saturday at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

The previous African record of 9.84sec was held by South African Akani Simbine. Bromell put behind the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games disappointment to win in 9.76 sec, which is not only the fastest time run on African soil but also a world lead.

Omanyala, the first Kenyan sprinter to reach the 100m semi-final at the Olympics during the Tokyo Summer Games, is now the eighth all-time fastest 100m sprinter, while Bromell is tied at sixth place with fellow countryman, Christian Coleman.

Bolt set the World Record time of 9.58sec at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.

“Omanyala had challenges in movement while in training and we must now ease that ahead of the busy 2022 athletics season. We promise him a better car with the number plate 758 if he breaks Bolt’s record,” said Mungai.

Odibets has so far supported Omanyala to a tune of Sh40 million in his journey to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Odibet was God-sent. They came to my assistance when I was at my lowest ebb financially seven months ago. I didn’t have money and all the firms that I approached avoided me because of a previous doping case that wasn’t of my own making,” said Omanyala.

"We always believe in second chances and this is a young man whose story inspired us. Our mission at Odibet Mtaani program is to help talent grow, said Mungai.

Omanyala paid tribute to his father, saying he has always supported him in all his endeavors.

"He bought me my first rugby kit and athletics running shoes while at the University of Nairobi," said Omanyala, who also thanked his wife for standing by his side in "thick or thin."