Africa’s 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala is stuck in Kenya with barely a day left to the 100m preliminary races at the World Championships in Oregon, USA. Omanyala was yet to leave the country by Wednesday night even as his team and Athletics Kenya (AK) officials scrambled to get him cleared.
He was still waiting to be issued with a US visa. The situation has left the 26-year old sprint sensation a doubt for the World Championships. Many Kenyans were looking forward to watching Omanyala in Oregon following his spectacular 100m performances in recent months.
Except for Omanyala and 10,000m participant Sheila Chepkirui, all the other athletes representing Kenya at the World Championships already received their visas. A number of team officials have also not received their visas.
Omanyala is scheduled to get off the blocks in a preliminary race at 8:30 am Kenyan time on Saturday, which is Friday 10.30 pm in Oregon.
Despite the frustrations, Omanyala was keeping hope alive on Wednesday as he looked forward to his first World Championships appearance.
“It takes almost 22 hours to get there and as a sportsman, you need some time to rest and also train a bit to shake the jet lag. Looking at all circumstances and my first race is on Friday, I am just hoping I can leave today (Wednesday) so that I get there Thursday night and rest up a bit,” he stated.
Omanyala was initially slated to travel with the first batch of 23 that including 19 athletes who left the country on three different flights – Qatar Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Lufthansa Airlines on Tuesday. He, however, also failed to travel with the second batch that left on Wednesday morning.
The delays will likely impact Omanyala’s preparation for the race. The situation has seen fans online pile pressure on the US Embassy to issue the visa.
“Sad that I haven’t traveled Oregon yet and 100 M is in 2 days. Visa delays!!!” Omanyala shared on Instagram on Wednesday morning.
READ NEXT>>Kipchoge Lands Huawei Deal for New Campaign