By Matis Molina Ricard ’24
Long distance runners from Kenya have always dominated the podium, and Ferdinand Omanyala wants to inspire the next generation of Kenyan athletes to become sprinters as well. He wants to be a source of inspiration to make Kenya a “sprinting nation.”
The 26-year-old is setting an example for the future after winning several contests this year. In the men’s 100-meter race at the World Athletics Continental Tour in May, Omanyala reached the finish line first. He won the 100-meter race again in the African Athletic Championships the following month. At the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Omanyala gave Kenya its first gold medal for the 100-meter race in 60 years.
The track athlete says that his secret to staying cool is to imagine the event for weeks prior to race day, and to engage in difficult workouts and training sessions.
Reflecting on his career, Omanyala notes that setting the African 100-meter record at the Kip Keino Classic in 2021 is one of his greatest achievements.
Despite finishing 0.01 seconds short of winning the gold, Omanyala set a new record for Africa and ranked seventh all-time with a time of 9.77. Racing is “90% mental,” according to Omanyala.He notes, “There are always two sides of a race: you either win or lose. So, I always visualize both, so that when I get into a race and something happens, it doesn’t hit me that hard because I’ve already visualized that,” The sprinter is now aiming to beat Usain Bolt’s 9.58-second record for the 100-meter race. Ferdinand Ominyala has some big dreams, but this shouldn’t be frowned upon, because Ferdinand Ominyala has proved time and again that he has the ability to achieve them.