No one is to blame for my visa saga, Omanyala now says
Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala insists that no one is to blame for the visa saga that rocked Team Kenya currently in Oregon for the World Athletics championships.
Omanyala endured a torrid time in his quest for World Championship glory having arrived three hours to the competition last week.
Despite the travel hitches, Omanyala scraped through Heat 7 of the 100m in a time of 10.10 seconds before finishing a distant fifth in the semis thereby bidding bye to the Worlds.
Omanyala’s story of delayed visa has been the story of the month with many Kenyans and athletics fans calling out to the Ministry of Sports and Athletics Kenya (AK) to clear the air over the matter that saw a number of athletes and Team Kenya officials miss out on the Oregon trip.
On Friday morning, Omanyala said that no one is to blame for the visa saga and urged every involved party to shift focus to upcoming events including the Commonwealth Games that begin in a week’s time in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
“Let’s stop pointing fingers, the Government really helped,” Omanyala posted on social media.
“Like I said earlier, there is no one to blame on my visa delay. We all as athletes went for visa interviews to the embassy (US embassy). After that I was sent supplementary questions that needed clarification, 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 Am. Amina (Amina Mohamed) were very instrumental in my visa being granted once the issue was raised,” said the Africa 100m champion.
Omanyala visibly looked tired and worn out during the men’s 100m semi-final and he finished the race in a disappointing 5th in 10.14 with the winner of the race Marvin Bracy moving on to win silver in the final.
With the focus fast shifting to Commonwealth Games, Omanyala says that his intentions have not changed as he chases a first medal out of Africa.
“My target remains the same…to win gold with 9.7 seconds,“ he said of his targets at the Birmingham ‘Club Games.’
On Tuesday, Athletics Kenya(AK) released a statement saying that Omanyala ‘was on his own’ in the visa saga.
In a statement released, Athletics Kenya president Gen. Jackson Tuwei said the federation had done everything within its powers to ensure that all athletes got their visas on time.
"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.
“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.