On January 23rd this year, Kenyans could not hide their joy as they celebrated one of the athletes who ran 100 metres in 10.11 seconds in the second leg of the Athletics Kenya Relays Series at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.
The athlete, who goes by the name Ferdinand Omanyala, was to later have his dream short-lived as his win was later declared wind-assisted. “I had set my eyes on the prize and knew that I would win big and break a record during this tournament,” said Ferdinand after completing the race.
Though Omanyala’s win was not ratified as a national record because it was wind-assisted, Kenya’s leading betting firms Odibets have come out to support the athlete and encourage him that all hope is not lost.
“Omanyala’s effort shows that there is talent at the grassroots level and that we can have the next Usain Bolt coming from our community,” said Odibets country marketing manager Aggrey Sayi as he handed Ferdinand a small recognition of effort from the company.
Speaking to journalists, Omanyala said, “I intend to compete abroad. It’s time to go international now. The performance is a result of the good preseason I had with the Kenya Sevens rugby team in November and December last year. It’s a shame my time won’t be ratified as a national record but God’s time is the best. It will come gradually.”
Odibets General manager, Dedan Mungai, noted that the move was in line with the betting firms’ vision of growing untapped talent from the grassroots to the national and finally the international level.
“Through this move, we hope to harness and foster the immense untapped potential that our grassroots athletes have and they should know that all hope is not lost despite the setbacks they may get on their way up,” said Mungai.