A Commonwealth gold is a welcome reward for African sprinter and record holder, Ferdinand Omanyala after the woes that befell him prior to the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, where he arrived just three hours to his race.
The fatigue he had to endure saw him fail to get to the final, but has now stamped his status as the best sprinter in Africa currently.
He was knocked out of the Oregon World Championships finals after he emerged fifth in the semifinals.
This is after a debacle that saw Omanyala and other athletes not being issued with their visas hours before the start of the world athletics championships.
It would later emerge that the American Embassy had refrained from issuing extra visas after it emerged that the list given by the Ministry of Sports had exceeded the 80 athletes who had been approved by Athletics Kenya (AK).
The Ministry of Sports led by Cabinet Secretary (CS) Amina Mohammed forwarded a list of 112, which included 32 individuals not known to the athletics body.
However, Omanyala would come out to urge his supporters to stop condemning the Ministry of Sports for his woes, and this did not sit well with Kenyans on Twitter.
He explained that it was the Ministry’s intervention that helped him out of the situation.
“Like I said, there is no one to blame for my visa delay. We all as athletes went for visa interviews at the 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 the government intervention through the Ministry of Sports and Athletics Kenya that I got my visa. In fact, the Ministry of Sports through CS Amina Mohammed was instrumental in my visa being granted once the issue was raised,” read his statement.
Omanyala issued the clarification after many Kenyans on social media blamed the government for his failure to qualify for the 100m men’s finals.
Despite the blame game, Omanyala bagged the country’s first gold medal in the ongoing Birmingham Commonwealth Games on Wednesday, August 3.
The eighth fastest man of all time over the 100m distance clocked 10.02 seconds to win relatively comfortably ahead of continental rival and defending champion, Akani Simbine, of South Africa.
Sri Lankan sprinter Yupun Abeykoon finished a hundredth of a second behind Simbine to take bronze in a hotly contested finish, with Jeremiah Azu of Wales in fifth with 10.19 seconds.
Omanyala made history. It has been 60 years since Kenya last won a gold medal in 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games.
He took charge of the race from the onset and with his traditional burst in the final 50m; It was nothing but jubilation for the fastest man in Africa as he won gold.
This saw Omanyala scoop his first ever gold medal in an international competition having missed out at the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Indoor Championships and the World Championships last month, where he reached the semis in all competitions.
Omanyala expressed gratitude after the win, which has been long overdue owing to his stellar performance in previous competitions.
“For the glory and honour of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for the support and the positivity,” Omanyala stated on his historic win.