Athletics Kenya requests World Athletics to allow Omanyala race alone
Athletics Kenya (AK) officials were last evening engaged in frantic efforts to convince World Athletics to allow Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala to race on his own at the Hayward Field track in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States and attempt to attain the qualifying times for the men 100m semi-finals after it emerged that he may arrive late for the World Athletics Championships.
Senior AK official Barnaba Korir told People Sport that they had initiated talks with the global body and they were confident that their request would be considered to allow the sprinter compete at the showpiece.
“AK president Jack Tuwei is currently in talks with World Athletics to make them allow Omanyala compete at the event even if he arrives slightly late. We are confident that they will consider our request, because all this was not our fault,” Korir told People Sport.
He added: “If granted, he will race alone on the track and if he attains the qualifying times, he will feature in the semi-finals on Saturday and hopefully he can qualify for the Sunday finals and bring the country a medal.”
The request is considered under Rule 146 of the World Athletics Technical Rules which were enforced on November 1, 2019. Omanyala who was visibly excited after finally receiving his US visa yesterday, jetted off at 6.10pm aboard a Qatar Airways flight that was to go through Doha, then Seattle before landing at Portland International Airport from where he is to take a three-hour road drive to Eugene, Oregon.
“I want to thank the government and Athletics Kenya for sorting out my visa issues and enabling me to finally embark on my journey to the World Championships,” Omanyala said.
He added: “ There is no one to blame here, it’s just how the system works. So let’s all be positive, so long as I’m at the start line, I will run. I’m always ready, I’ve trained well and I have been through a lot so I have a strong mentality, the moment I get there everything will be forgotten, my body is ready to run.”
The sprinting star’s issue yesterday elicited a lot of reactions on the social media with several athletics enthusiasts blaming the Ministry of Sports for the hitch.