No reprieve for Omanyala as AK disowns sprinter


No reprieve for Omanyala as AK disowns sprinter
(FILE)Mark Otieno (L) wins the 100m men finals ahead of Ferdinand Omanyala (081), Emmanuel Lentukunye and Brown Njoka during their World relay build up championships at Nairobi West Prisons Grounds in Nairobi, Kenya on February 25, 2017. Otieno won the race with a time of 10.3. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha/Citizen

In Summary

  • Ferdinand Omanyala’s hope of representing Kenya in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics and other events has been quashed by Athletics Kenya (AK), despite serving and completing his doping ban.
  • Omanyala’s new mark of 10.01 seconds in 100m will not be ratified as a new national record too, the AK has disclosed.
  • At the same time, Tuwei warned Kenyan athletes against competing in international events without prior clearance from the federation.

In form sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala’s hope of representing Kenya in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics and other events has been quashed by Athletics Kenya (AK), despite serving and completing his doping ban.

Omanyala’s new mark of 10.01 seconds in 100m will not be ratified as a new national record too, the AK has disclosed.

The sprinter clocked the mark at the Making of Champions (MOC) Grand Prix that was held in March 30 in Lagos, Nigeria where he had also sealed qualification for Olympic Games after surpassing the required 10.05

While Omanyala had lowered the current record of 10.14 held by compatriot Mark Otieno by a whopping 0.3 seconds, his new mark awaited ratification from AK, who are tasked with ascertaining the conditions of the race before giving the green light for a new mark to be recognised as a national record.

On Monday, AK opted against ratifying Omanyala’s record after receiving a letter from the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

The letter, seen by Citizen Digital and signed by the federation’s Director General Siminialayi Pepple, denounced the event as having not been sanctioned by AFN.

“Please note that the AFN, under the leadership of Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, did not enter into any agreement or partnership with anybody or group known or addressed as “Making of Champions” for any competition, especially one referred to as 3rd Making of Champions Grand Prix,”  read the letter.

It continued, “For the avoidance of doubt, the competition in question was neither approved by the AFN nor was the AFN part of its organisation.”

Illegal races

AK president Jackson Tuwei affirmed that for any record, there must be strict compliance to the rules set by World Athletics (WA).

“For a record (world, regional or national) to be ratified, the interested party has to officially apply for the same as it’s given by World Athletics requirements.

Essentially WA designed a form showing necessary information to be given to the record approving authority should be filled and forwarded accordingly and at the correct period of time…”

At the same time, Tuwei warned Kenyan athletes against competing in international events without prior clearance from the federation.

“I want to urge our athletes to be very careful not to go and compete in illegal championships,” warned Tuwei.

No second chance

Ferdinand Omanyala (L) wins 200m during their build up championships at Nairobi West Prisons Grounds in Nairobi, Kenya on March 04, 2017. Photo/Oliver Ananda

Meanwhile, Tuwei has further stressed that no athlete who has been previously convicted in a doping case will be allowed to compete for the country.

“Yes, the decision still remains the same,” said Tuwei.

The federation’s decision now seems to have sealed Omanyala’s fate, whose chance of competing for the country now seems to have hit a dead end despite pleading for a second chance.

The University of Nairobi student has enjoyed top form since the start of the year, having run an impressive 10.11 at the second AK weekend meeting in January.  The mark wasn’t ratified as a national record due to wind assistance.

What next?

With the new development, it remains to be seen the next step the athlete will take. The athlete and the federation have before been embroiled in legal tussle.

In 2019, the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) ordered AK to facilitate Omanyala to compete at the World University Games in Italy after the athlete had served a 14-month ban after testing positive for diprofase, a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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