Profile: Ferdinand Omanyala, Africa’s Fastest Man Ever

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– Ferdinand Omanyala Omurwa: Kenyan sprinter in 60m, 100m, 200m.

– 2022: Won Commonwealth Games, African Championships.

– African record holder in 100m (9.77s).

– Kenyan national record holder in 60m.

Ferdinand Omanyala Omurwa (born 2 January 1996) is a Kenyan sprinter competing in the 60 metres, 100 m and 200 m. In 2022, he won his first international championships, with victories in the 100 m at the Commonwealth Games, and African Championships in Athletics. Omanyala is the African record holder and the ninth-fastest man of all time in the event after clocking a time of 9.77 seconds on 18 September 2021 in Nairobi. He also holds the Kenyan national record in the 60 m.

Early life

Ferdinand Omanyala Omurwa was born in Hamisi as the third son of Dishon and Adelaide Omurwa, though the family settled in Tongaren soon afterwards.


In 2015, Omanyala began his athletics career in Kenya as a chemistry student the University of Nairobi.

He made this move after a friend noticed his speed while he was playing rugby. He made the switch from rugby to track and only a few weeks later he ran a time of 10.4 s in his first race in Kakamega. The same year, he won the national Olympics trials over the 100 m distance in a time of 10.37 s but never met the qualifying standard for the Olympics which was 10.16 s.

Following a doping offence in 2017 Omanyala received a 14-month suspension. He tested positive for the prohibited substance betamethasone, after undergoing treatment for his back injury which he got during training.

Omanyala won the national title in the 100 metres in 2019.

On 30 March 2021, he set a national record of 10.01 seconds in the 100 m in winning a meeting at Yabatech Sport Complex in Lagos, Nigeria.

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics 100 metres semi-final in August that year, he set a new national record of 10.00 seconds.

Omanyala was 0.04 s behind eventual silver medalist Fred Kerley and 0.02 s behind eventual bronze medalist Andre De Grasse. The same month, he ran a new personal best of 9.86 seconds in Austria, becoming the first Kenyan to ever break the 10-second barrier.

In September, he ran a 9.77 seconds (+1.2 m/s) for a new African record at the Absa Kip Keino Classic held in Nairobi, Kenya coming in a close second place behind Trayvon Bromell, who ran a world leading 9.76 s.

In June 2022, Omanyala became African 100 m champion before he was eliminated in the semi-finals of the World Championships held in Eugene, Oregon in July, after arriving at the event only a couple of hours before his first round heat due to visa problems. In August, he claimed Kenya’s first gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, becoming the first Kenyan to win gold in the 100-metre race in 60 years.

Personal life

Omanyala is married to Laventa Amutavi and they have a son.

 His official sponsors are Odibets, a Kenyan sports betting company.


International competitions

2017World RelaysNassau, Bahamas7th4 × 200 m relay1:23.04 SB1
2021Olympic GamesTokyo, Japan8th (sf)100 m10.00 NR
2022World Indoor ChampionshipsBelgrade, Serbia13th (sf)60 m i6.64
African ChampionshipsSaint Pierre, Mauritius1st100 m9.93
30th (h)200 m21.16
1st4 × 100 m relay39.28 NR
World ChampionshipsEugene, OR, United States13th (sf)100 m10.14
Commonwealth GamesBirmingham, United Kingdom1st100 m10.02
4 × 100 m relayDNF
2023World ChampionshipsBudapest, Hungary7th100 m10.07
2024World Indoor ChampionshipsGlasgow, United Kingdom4th60 m6.56
1Time from the heats; Omanyala was replaced in the final.

National titles

  • Kenyan Athletics Championships
    • 100 metres: 2019, 2022
    • 200 metres: 2022

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