Omanyala Visa Saga: Athletics Kenya Breaks Silence

  • An image of Ferdinand Omanyala during the World Championship race in Oregon on July 16, 2022.
    An image of Ferdinand Omanyala during the World Championship race in Oregon on July 16, 2022.
    COURTESY
  • Athletics Kenya (AK) has cleared the air on the circumstances that led to Ferdinand Omanyala's late departure for the World Championships in the United States of America.

    In a news release signed by AK President Jackson Tuwei, the AK has played down claims that it prioritized facilitating government officials to the United States over athletes. The document further stated that preparations for the World Athletics Championships started early enough including travel arrangements for the contingent of athletes.

    A contingent of 80 athletes and officials was selected back in June after the national trials. AK further contracted an external firm to process travel documents for the team.

    An image of Faith Kipyegon at the World Championships in Oregon.
    An image of Faith Kipyegon at the World Championships in Oregon.
    COURTESY

    "Athletics Kenya engaged an external expert firm to process visa applications for the traveling delegation to ensure a smooth process without challenges,” stated AK President, Jackson Tuwei.

    Every athlete was issued the requisite travel documents on July 8th except Omanyala who had some issues to iron out with the US embassy. According to AK, Omanyala was required to fill in an additional form to clarify some issues. This led to the delay for his departure and eventually the saga that saw him arrive in the US hours to his first race. 

    “The rest were issued with their visas a day later while Omanyala’s passport was not released. We were informed that he needed to fill an additional form referred to as supplementary questions for visa applicants, to verify some facts,” read a statement in part. 

    AK further states that only three government officials have traveled with the athletes and thus allegations that over 32 officials were flown to USA were untrue. This amid claims that Sports and Culture Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed’s daughter was among the Kenyan delegation in the US

    "Allegations that persons other than athletes and support personnel illegally traveled to Oregon are false and unsubstantiated. Athletics Kenya hopes that this statement will set the record straight as a true account of the status of the Kenyan delegation in Oregon."

    Team Kenya is currently taking part in the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. However, the team has failed to replicate former performances in the championships. 

    Omanyala failed to qualify for the finals of the 100 meters race after finishing fifth in his heat race. Star athletes Hellen Obiri and Coneslus Kipruto  failed to win gold in the 10,000 meters race and 5,000 meters respectively.  

    Kenya's wait for a gold came to an end Tuesday morning (EAT) when Faith Kipyegon won the women's 1,500 meters race. Omanyala’s saga had sparked debates over Kenya’s preparedness for the championships in Oregon.

    The AK also flagged a statement that went viral on Monday evening as fake. The unsigned press release stated that Athletics Kenya did not engage the Ministry of Sports in the preparations for Team Kenya's travel to the USA. 

    An image of Ferdinand Omanyala during the World Championship race in Oregon on July 16, 2022.
    An image of Ferdinand Omanyala during the World Championship race in Oregon on July 16, 2022.
    COURTESY
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