Omanyala Defends Govt After Athletics Kenya Exposed Him

He noted that it was actually the Ministry, under Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amb Amina Mohammed, which rescued him from the saga

Omanyala Defends Govt After Athletics Kenya Exposed Him
Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala. /TWITTER

Africa's fastest man, Ferdinand Omanyala has come out to defend the government after Athletics Kenya (AK) claimed that he was to blame for his visa woes which narrowly cost him a place at the 2022 World Championships in Oregon, USA.

In a statement on Friday, July 22, the sprinter called upon Kenyans to stop blaming the Ministry of Sports for the issue, which had seen him miss out on travelling with Team Kenya for the championships on Tuesday night, July 12.

He noted that it was actually the Ministry, under Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amb Amina Mohammed, which rescued him from the saga which if it did not happen, would have seen him miss out on the championships which would have been a huge blow to the athletics team.

Ferdinand Omanyala during the World Championships in Oregon, USA on July 16, 2022. 

"Like I said, there is no one to blame for my visa delay.

"We all as athletes went for visa interviews to the embassy. After that, I was sent supplementary questions that needed clarification," read the statement in part.

Omanyala added that on the penultimate day, his visa from the US Embassy in Kenya was not released, prompting the government to step in and solve the issue.

He credited the ministry in particular for moving swiftly to rectify the matter once an alarm for it was raised.

"But on Thursday, a day before my race, my visa was not out. It was through government intervention by the Ministry of Sports and Athletics Kenya that I got my visa.

"In fact, the Ministry of Sports through CS Amb Amina Mohamed were instrumental in my visa being granted once the issue was raised," he added.

In a letter signed by its president, Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei on Monday, July 18, AK revealed that the sprinter was required to undergo an individual assessment test at the visa section of the US Embassy, a requirement he did not fulfil. 

“It is important to mention that Ferdinand Omanyala went for Visa Biometrics at the Embassy of the United States in Nairobi on July 7, 2022, alongside other athletes. The rest were issued their visas 2 days later while Omanyala’s passport was not released. 

"When we enquired why, we were informed that he needed to fill in an additional form referred to as supplementary questions for visa applicants to verify some facts," read the statement in part. 

AK further alleged that the delay was beyond their control and that Omanyala had to go through the rest of the procedures individually. 

It conducted trials for the Championships between June 24 and 25, 2022, and selected a delegation of 80 athletes including government officials. Afterwards, it engaged an external expert firm to process the visa applications for the travelling delegation to ensure a smooth process without challenges. 

Oddly enough, Athletics Kenya said it did not engage the Ministry during the initial visa application. 

Athletics Kenya boss Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei addressing the press at the AK Headquarters. /PEOPLE DAILY

With regard to the travelling party to the United States, Athletics Kenya denied the presence of 32 unknown individuals who had travelled to Oregon as 'joyriders', instead of the other athletes. 

The saga drew in the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) which is probing the inclusion of top government officials.