Athletics Kenya has distanced itself from the recent visa saga that rocked Kenya’s sprint star Ferdinand Omanyala.
Through a statement, AK said that neither the Sports Ministry nor the athletics association is to blame.
AK left no doubt where the blame lies, noting that all the athletes whose names were submitted to the US Embassy for the visas got their travel documents on time, bar Omanyala, whom the Embassy sought further clarifications from.
“Athletics Kenya conducted trials for the Championship on June 24th and 25th, 2022 and selected a contingent of 80 athletes and Officials. Thereafter, Athletics Kenya engaged an external expert firm to process the visa applications for the travelling delegation to ensure a smooth process without challenges,” read part of the statement.
According to Athletics Kenya, Omanyala went for Visa Biometrics at the Embassy of the United States in Nairobi on 7th July 2022, alongside other athletes however, the rest were issued their visas a day later but Omanyala’s passport was not released.
“When we enquired why, we were informed that he needed to fill in an additional form referred to as supplementary questions for visa applicants, to verify some facts. Neither the Ministry nor Athletics Kenya could intervene because the required processes by the Embassy had to be undertaken individually. Athletics Kenya would like to recognise the efforts of Ambassador Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage, in engaging the American Embassy to have the visa issued,” read the statement.
Further, the Athletics Kenya stated that only three Government officials travelled to Oregon for the 2022 World Athletics Championships.
It stated that the Ministry has put in place a strict policy that ensures that only officials with specific roles accompany teams out of the country, a responsibility entrusted to Athletics Kenya in a comprehensive brief from the Ministry.
“Athletics Kenya expects the Cabinet Secretary to travel to the games as well as have scheduled meetings with Nike and World Athletics,” they said.
However, the sensation sprinter has come out to explain the visa hitch that hit him ahead of the 2022 World Championships in the USA.
Omanyala distanced himself from any blame games, noting that he had not been informed about any incomplete information required in his visa application.
He argued that if that was the case, the embassy would have highlighted the issue earlier.
“If that was the case, the American embassy would have highlighted the issue in advance,” he stated.
The athlete bowed out of the World Championships after he emerged fifth in the semi-finals of the 100 meters race.
This is after arriving hours to the event on Friday, July 15, due to the visa delays.
Omanyala has since put that aside and is focused on winning gold when the Commonwealth Games get underway in Birmingham, England on July 28.
The Club Games are scheduled to run for 11 days between July 28 and August 9 where Omanyala will be among the favorites to win gold, in the absence of US athletes and Olympic champion, Italian Marcell Jacobs.
In order to avoid any hindrances, Omanyala affirmed that he would directly travel to Birmingham, the United Kingdom in preparation for the acclaimed event.