What you need to know:
- He said Omanyala has put the Rabat race behind him, but he learnt vital lessons.
- “We talked about the need to have high concentration in races,” said Ayiemba, adding that the turn Omanyala made in Rabat cost him but it wasn’t planned.
Commonwealth 100 metres champion Ferdinand Omanyala is quickly learning his lessons, the hard way.
While elite athletes have hordes of coaches and physiotherapists — sometimes nutritionists and psychologists — in tow, Omanyala cannot afford such luxury at present.
Africa’s fastest man mostly travels alone to competitions because of lack of funds.
“Out here, elite athletes travel with their physiotherapists, coaches and even nutritionists,” he said.
The sprint sensation made the remarks yesterday in Rabat, Morocco as he waited to board his flight to Florence, Italy.
Omanyala is scheduled to compete in the Florence Diamond League on Friday after finishing third in the 100m race at the Rabat Diamond League on Sunday.
World champion American Fred Kerley won the race.
“It’s mentally tough to be alone during such tours and it can be lonely but you have to stay strong.
“We still don’t have enough funds to travel with the whole team and how I wish the government could help,” said Omanyala, who was accompanied by his coach Duncan Ayiemba in Rabat.
Coach flew home
While Ayiemba flew back home after the Rabat assignment, Omanyala left for Italy with his manager Marcel Viljoen.
The Absa Kip Keino Classic champion will be hoping to rise again, after stumbling in Rabat, to take on an almost similar line up in Italy.
In Rabat, Kerley affirmed his status when he recovered from a slow start to take the lead from 30m all the way to win in a meet record time of 9.94 seconds.
Former African 100m champion and record holder, Akani Simbine from South Africa, dipped for second in 9.99 as Omanyala came third in 10.05.
Omanyala will be aiming for a good result at the Florence Diamond League, while Kerley will be looking to retain his title against a rich field that includes home idol and Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs.
Jacobs withdrew from the Rabat meet at the last minute due to a lombo sacral nerve block.
The Italian beat Kerley at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games held in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kerley recovered to clinch gold at the World Athletics Championships held last year in Eugene, Oregon, United States of America. Jacobs withdrew from the event in the semi-finals due to injury.
Ayiemba said that Omanyala will stick to the Diamond League training regime in Florence and later at the Paris Diamond League on June 9 before heading back home for the National Athletics Championships on June 22 to 24 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
“Travelling and training alone can affect even the strongest of them. There is little one can do without funds,” said Ayiemba, adding that it takes discipline for Omanyala to know what to consume when alone.
He said Omanyala has put the Rabat race behind him, but he learnt vital lessons.
“We talked about the need to have high concentration in races,” said Ayiemba, adding that the turn Omanyala made in Rabat cost him but it wasn’t planned.
“Some things just happen and he has to learn the hard way.”