World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has tipped Kenya and Africa 100M record holder Ferdinand Omanyala to have a stellar, lasting career on the global stage.
The 25-year old Omanyala was crowned Best Sportsman of the Year at the 2021 SOYA gala. It was his latest win after his stellar showing last season.
Kipchoge stated that Omanyala had all the ingredients required to have a long and successful career. The legend, considered the world’s greatest ever marathoner, further spoke on the importance of qualities such as professionalism for a young star like Omanyala.
Omanyala in 2021 became the first Kenyan to make it to the semifinals of the 100M in the Olympics during the Tokyo Games. Later, he set the African record in Nairobi at the Kip Keino Classic when he finished second clocking 9.77 seconds.
“My small piece of advice to him (Omanyala) is to treat the sport as a profession. Above all, he should have character, education and support. I believe he already has them and these three things will drive him through to the next 15 years,” Kipchoge stated.
Omanyala’s success has seen sponsors make a beeline for his signature. He joined the National Police Service (NPS) and will continue to represent Kenya and the service in various competitions.
in 2022, he signed a sponsorship deal with Adidas. The deal covers his kitting, traveling expenses and winning bonuses. He hopes it will enable him to achieve his dream of becoming the world record holder over 100M.
“Adidas came in and gave me a good deal and they are going to support me for the next four years with kitting, travelling money and everything possible for me to run with peace of mind.”
“This is such a big deal for me because when I joined the sport I was always looking forward to sign a contract and I never knew I would sign with Adidas. This is the best thing to happen to me and it is a dream come true for me because they are the best,” he stated.
Kipchoge looked back on his career in athletics, noting that the SOYA gong would inspire young athletes such as Omanyala.
“People like Omanyala have been in the industry for two years while I am 17 years old in the world of athletics. I think he’ll be taking some notes of what we have been doing in the last 17 years,” he said.
On his part, Omanyala noted that the award meant a lot to him. He voiced appreciation while looking forward to the season ahead.
“It means a lot to me and makes me happy. It shows that people appreciate what I have been doing. When journalists come together and decide to give this award to me, it is really motivating,” he stated.