Former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin explains why Ferdinand Omanyala is special

10th May 2024

Omanyala is preparing to take part in his second Olympic event in Paris later in July.

Ferdinand Omanyala. PHOTO| AFP
Ferdinand Omanyala. PHOTO| AFP
  • Justin Gatlin described Omanyala as a kind person who wants to see Kenya succeed.
  • Omanyala talked about the legacy he wants to leave once he retires.
  • Gatlin is a four-time world champion and won the 100m race in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Multiple 100 metre world champion Justin Gatlin has heaped praise on Kenya’s sprint sensation Ferdinand Omanyala ahead of the eagerly awaited 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Gatlin, who is a one-time Olympic Games 100m winner, described Omanyala as a man on a mission to take Kenya to another level.

According to the United States legend, the reigning African 100m record holder is both a special talent and a nice human being.

“We had a great time laughing with Ferdinand Omanyala on this episode of Ready Set Go! I’ve learned so much about him outside of being a great track and field athlete.

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Truly a man with a kind heart who wants to elevate his country,” read part of the statement from Gatlin, who retired two years ago.

Omanyala disclosed in the interview that his goal is to help nurture upcoming speedsters, who will rule the sprinting world in future.

The Friends School Kamusinga alumni stated that his heart will melt with happiness when he one day sees more Kenyans producing sub-10-second performances in the 100m discipline.

“I don’t want to leave Kenya in a situation where we will have like another 60 years before we get another sprinter that is as good as me. I don’t want that.

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I want a situation where, when I sit back and watch the trials of the Olympics or the world championships at the stadiums, I want to see like 4 to 5 guys deep under 10.

That will be my joy. That will be my pride. You know, right now they say 100m, Omanyala yes, and then they start selecting number two. I don’t want that in the coming future.

I want to see sprinters emerging from Kenya. I want to see a birth of sprinters every year, like it is for the long distance,” he explained.

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Omanyala, who has a personal best of 9:77 seconds, recently made public his schedule as he continues to prepare for the Paris games.

He is expected to compete at the Atlanta City Games in the United States on May 18 before gracing the 2024 Prefontaine Classic slated for May 25.

Omanyala’s final race before heading to the Olympics is the Jamaica Racers Grand Prix scheduled to take place on June 1.

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