Omanyala set a new 100m national record of 9.96 seconds in a meet in Austria, which was better than the 10.00 seconds personal best he set in the just-concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala Omurwa added another massive milestone on Saturday, August 14 by smashing his own personal record and etching himself amongst the elite class of track athletes.
Simply put, Omanyala set a new 100m national record of 9.86 seconds in a meet in Austria, which was better than the 10.00 seconds personal best he set in the just-concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
He initially set a record of 9.96 seconds in the semi-final, which was better than the Kenya record before lowering it further to 9.86 seconds in the final.
Ferdinand Omanyala in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. /TWITTER
Omanyala is now the first Kenyan to finish the race in under 10 seconds in a major athletic competition.
His new record is also 0.01 seconds outside the African record.
Omanyala’s sharp rise to the top among the famous Kenyan athletes was during the Olympics when he upset the odds by beating Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, who was his role model.
Despite not qualifying for the finals, it was a moment that injected hope into his athletics career.
His journey to history books was decided in 2016 when he opted to leave rugby for a chance in athletics, where he had his heart and mind focused on.
He began his sporting career at Friends School in Kamusinga by signing up for its rugby team in 2012 when he was in Form 3, making an impression to the point of being noticed by scouts from the national team.
“After high school, I was called to play for the Under-20 (U20) Kenya Sevens but then coming back here in Nairobi, there were no trials [sic],” the sprinter revealed during a past interview with a local TV station.
He had no choice but to drop his dreams of playing for the Kenya Sevens team. However, a friend who took note of his speed as a rugby winger approached him suggesting to him to join another sport.
Omanyala had initially trained with a rugby coach before Duncan Ayiemba, a former sprinter, picked him up in 2016. One year later, he made a landmark decision in his athletics career by joining the Kenya athletics team.
His journey has been with a few bumps. The sprinter was sanctioned by Anti-doping Agency of Kenya on doping allegations in over doping allegations in 2017. He served the ban and returned to the track in 2018.
His race to etch himself among the world’s elite sprinters including the legendary Usain Bolt hit another snag when he suffered an injury to his back.
Omanyala returned in 2019 and responded by resoundingly claiming the 100m national title. He then trained with his coach during the COVID-19 pandemic as his skills and technique grew and grew.
The UoN pharmaceutical chemistry student offered a taste of what was to come when he clocked 10.11 seconds in the second Athletics Kenya relay series on January 23, 2021. He set the fastest time in Kenya for the men’s 100-metre race.
However, his record was not ratified amid claims of being assisted by the wind.
Come Saturday, July 31, Omanyala completed a historic feat in the Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Kenyan to qualify for the 100m semi-final.
He finished third in Heat 5, clocking 10.01 seconds and equalling his national record before bettering it twice.
Ferdinand Omanyala finished third in the first heat of the 100m semi-finals on August 1, 2021. /TWITTER