Bravo, Ferdi! Omanyala our pride

Ferdinand Omanyala the fastest man in Africa

Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala (centre). He won gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, throwing the whole country into a frenzy.

Photo credit: Glyn Kirk | AFP

Ferdinand Omanyala, the fastest man in Africa, won gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, throwing the whole country into a frenzy. Once again, Omanyala raises high the Kenyan flag. Moments such as the sportsman’s Wednesday sprint make us all rise up and proudly say, “Mkenya Daima”. We’re proud of our own.

Omanyala is a paragon of hard work and discipline. He is at the pinnacle of his career. The big question is: ‘What does it take to be Omanyala?’

His win in the UK can be attributed to the summation of all factors that influence success, but behind the curtains is a story of bravery and the spirit of resilience. Barely two weeks ago, his visa to the US for the World Athletics Championships was delayed. A distraught Omanyala expressed his disappointment and lost hope as hours to his race drew nearer yet he was still miles away from Oregon.

Blamed for his misfortunes

Jet-lagged and with hope hanging on a thin thread, he did what was only humanly possible. Home he came back, with nothing to show for the last minute rush amidst an uproar from a section of Kenyans who blamed him for the misfortunes that befell him. Africa’s fastest man had a decision to make; keep training and wait for another opportunity to strike, or coil back in surrender and complain about his misfortunes.

Omanyala decided against the former, and so the preparation for whatever race lay ahead of him began. Fighter that he is, his performance in Birmingham was a sight to behold. Racing against the defending champion and other stars, Omanyala obliterated the field. He is now the African and Commonwealth champion.

And, what’s more, he makes history. After six decades, Omanyala brings home the highly coveted gold medal in the 100-metre race from the Commonwealth Games. His name indelible on the Wall of Fame, Omanyala is worth all the applause he can and will get.

Lest we forget, it takes a brave spirit to rise and find its way home after a defeat. Omanyala has taught us, and it is interesting to know that, Ferdi, which could pass for his nickname, is a German name that means, “to be brave”. Bravo, Ferdi.


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