University Sport News: Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala on his memorable 2021 athletics season

 From International University Sports Federation /FISU Athletes

Ferdinand Omanyala

Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala’s life and athletics career will never be the same as the 25 year-old soared into another level of sprinting, running personal best times and breaking his own national records and continental records while making a name for himself in the nation’s athletics circuit.

The athlete from the University of Nairobi has been impressive in his rise, earning himself a reputation of discipline, strength and self confidence.

In a year that has seen the Bungoma born athlete become one of the world’s fastest men was only possible due to the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, as he used the extra time to his advantage and has propelled his career to the next level.

Omanyala began his rise in Lagos, Nigeria also becoming Kenya’s fastest sprinter. He ran a time of 10.01s in the men’s 100m race of the Making of Champions (MOC) grand prix in March to meet the qualification time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

At the Olympic Games, Omanyala ran a time of 10.01 to finish third and became the first Kenyan to reach the semi-final in the men’s 100m at the Games. He missed out on being in the final line up by a few tenths of a second after he finished third in the semi final with an impressive 10 seconds behind eventual medalists Canada’s Andre De Grasse and Fred Kerley of the USA.

Ferdinand broke the below 10 second mark at the Int. JOSKO Laufmeeting, Pramtalstadion, Andorf Austria, with a time of 9.96 in the semi-final. He went faster in the final running an impressive time of 9.86 to join an exclusive group of elite sprinters and dominated races across Europe as the season continued coming in first in races like the Lahti moto net grand prix in Finland, Valkean Kaupungin Kisat, Raatin Stadion and Oulu.

Omanyala left the best for last as he ended his 2021 athletics season on a grand note running a time of 9.77 seconds to become the fastest African sprinter in the 100m and also broke the Kenyan 100m National record for the fifth time at the Kip Keino Classic at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Kenya. In addition to his national and continental feats, he also held a spot on Kenya’s national athletics team at the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade.

“It has truly been a great season,” he said. “I am excited that I closed the season with my last race on home soil. I am so glad that I got to end the season with such a monumental milestone, this season has been a great one, every single time I have set my foot on the track. I have witnessed the power of my hard work, determination, resilience, prayers and your support. I am blessed, I am grateful to God and everyone who has been part of my journey and shared in my growth,” he explained.

“The past few months have gone by so fast, with so many things changing, but the one thing that has been constant is growth. Growth can’t exist in comfort, so push yourself, go for it, you can do it, you owe it to yourself, you deserve it,” he mentioned on how he kept his focus on his desire for success.

PHOTOS COURTESTY OF THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE

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