Athletics Kenya breaks silence over Omanyala visa saga

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022 14:17 | By
AK president Jack Tuwei talks to journalists yesterday. PHOTO/PD/ AMOS ABUGA

Athletics Kenya (AK) has finally cleared the air on Ferdinand Omanyala’s visa hitch that almost cost him a trip to Oregon to participate in the World Athletics championships. 

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, AK president Gen. Jackson Tuwei said that all athletes were prioritized in visa processing and not government officials as it has been claimed. 

Gen Tuwei further said that preparations for Team Kenya for the Oregon Worlds started immediately after the National Trials that took place at the Kasarani stadium in June. 

A total of 80 athletes and officials were selected for the Oregon championships  and an external firm was contracted to process travel documents for the team.

"Athletics Kenya engaged an external expert firm to process visa applications for the traveling delegation to ensure a smooth process without challenges,” Gen. Jackson Tuwei said in the statement. 

According to Athletics Kenya, every athlete was issued with travel documents on July 8 expect Africa’s fastest man Omanyala who was needed to fill in ‘an additional form’ referred to as ‘supplementary questions for visa application’

“The rest were issued with their visas a day later while Omanyala’s passport was not released. We were informed that he needed to fill an additional form referred to as supplementary questions for visa applicants, to verify some facts,” the statement stated. 

AK went ahead to refute claims that a contingent of 32 ‘joy riders’ boarded a plane to Oregon insisting that only three government officials were flown to the USA. 

Akani Simbine (left) alongside Ferdinand Omanyala (Right). PHOTO/AkaniSimbine/Twitter

"Allegations that persons other than athletes and support personnel illegally traveled to Oregon are false and unsubstantiated. Athletics Kenya hopes that this statement will set the record straight as a true account of the status of the Kenyan delegation in Oregon."

Omanyala who arrived three hours to the start of the men’s 100m bowed out in the semis after finishing fifth in a race won by the eventual silver medalist Marvel Bacy of the USA. 

On Monday evening, a statement from AK was leaked on social media and AK claimed it was fake for it was not signed. However, the statement released on Tuesday almost had the same content as the previous one. 

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