Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala stunned the world after becoming the world’s eighth fastest man and the eighth fastest in history, after running a time of 9.77 in the Men’s 100M. The stunning run came in the Kip Keino Classic, the final stop of the 2021 World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Series, held last weekend in Nairobi Kenya. Omanyala came second after Trayvon Bromell who ran 9.76, beating renowned 100M runners such as Justin Gatlin, who ran 10.03.
Bromell ran the fastest time of 2021 so far, while Gatlin has announced that he is holding off retirement. Ferdinand Omanayala became the first Kenyan and first African to run that fast in the Men’s 100M. He broke South African Akani Simbine’s African record of 9.84. Omanyala has done so remarkably well and put Kenya on the map in short races, something that has eluded Kenyan runners and Kenya in athletics.
Ferdinand Omanyala’s Story: From Rugby to Athletics
Ferdinand Omanyala did such a good job in the Kip Keino Classic recording the official time of 9.77. He has been amicably rewarded so far, receiving a brand-new car from his sponsors, a betting firm in Kenya. Omanyala’s running career started while he was in Kamusinga High School where he started playing rugby. He is an avid lover of rugby and even continued playing on enrolling at the University of Nairobi.
“There is no limit to greatness. There is no limit to breaking that record.” – Ferdinand Omanyala.
A few years in, Ferdinand chose to venture into running, after a friend recommended that he try athletics. He then went on to sign up for athletics competitions in Kenya, culminating in his qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Omanyala, however, lost in the heats and did not get to the 100M Men’s finals after being beaten to the chase by the fastest three losers of the heats, who got the opportunity to go to the finals.
Inspiring Kenya in the Short Races the Omanyala Way
Omanyala did not lose hope and continued racing, seeing him become the world’s eighth fastest man. His story has inspired so many Kenyan runners in the short races, showing that Kenyans have the capability to do well in the short races. Ferdinand Omanyala ran a time of 9.86 in Austria, a feat that shocked him and gave him that much more motivation to do more. He has come a long way, facing accusations of doping, now debunked, and even having been denied a chance to run in the Diamond League. Officials had refused him a chance due to disbelief with the perception that Kenyans cannot do well in the short races.
Ferdinand has vowed that his 9.77 African record will not last a year, saying that he will “break it”. He trains 9 hours a day, Monday to Saturday, for three sessions of 3 hours each. Ferdinand is now looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and the Diamond League Series, not forgetting the championships. We wish him the very best!