This article outlines Ferdinand Omanyala's 2023 track and field season, highlighting his major wins and losses.
Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala ran a total of 39 races in the 2023 season, registering massive wins and some deflating losses from his busy season.
Omanyala opened his outdoor season at the second Athletics Kenya meet hosted at the Nyayo National Stadium and closed it at the Prefontaine Classic, the Diamond League Meeting final.
In between, he was able to record wins and losses but overall, he termed his 2023 track season as a 95% success.
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The 2023 track and field season for Omanyala started pretty well with his indoor tour in France. He started with a second-place finish at the Elite Indoor Track Miramas meeting and won the Mondeville Meeting.
Omanyala then competed at the Meeting de Paris where he won before also dominating at the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais.
The 27-year-old then kickstarted his outdoor tour at the second Athletics Kenya weekend meeting where he struck with a world-leading time of 9.81. However, his time was not recognised since the wind gauge was faulty.
Omanyala then proceeded to his South African tour where he won the two races he was competing in. He started with the ASA Athletics Grand Prix 1 before also dominating in the ASA Athletics Grand Prix 2.
The Commonwealth Games champion then went for the Botswana Golden Grand Prix, where he stamped authority in the 100m and propelled his 4x100m relay team to victory.
After that, Omanyala jetted back to the country where he dominated the 100m, clocking a world-leading time of 9.84 to win the race.
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The time he posted saw him end the season as the fourth-fastest man in the world behind Noah Lyles, Christian Coleman, and Zharnel Hughes who tied in third place.
Omanyala then made a return to the Diamond League circuit since 2021, starting off with a third-place finish at the Meeting in Rabat, Morocco, and Florence, Italy before finishing second in Paris, France. Before his Meeting in Paris, he competed at the 2° Meeting Citta' Di Lucca and won too.
Omanyala jetted back and competed at the National Championships, where he won the 100m and also propelled his 4x100m relay team to victory.
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The African champion then won the World Championships national trials and then proceeded to win the 100m at the Diamond League Meeting in Monaco.
Before the showpiece in Monaco, Omanyala was in a class of his own, propelling the 4x100m to victory at the Meeting Internationald'Athletisme de la Province de Liège in Belgium.
Omanyala also won the Memorial Borisa Hanžekovića before announcing his return at the Prefontaine Classic with a third-place finish behind Coleman and Lyles who finished first and second respectively. Omanyala also competed in his first ever 150m race where he finished third behind Lyles and Erriyon Knighton.
Despite having a great season, Omanyala did not have an easy ride since he encountered a few setbacks. He encountered his first major setback at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Omanyala had been backed by athletics legends, including American Michael Johnson. However, Omanyala failed to live up to the billing, ending up seventh in the final of the event.
He was off to a good start in the heats and semifinal, finishing second and third respectively but faltered in the final.
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After the World Championships, Omanyala went to two races, the Gala dei Castelli and 59. Palio Citta' della Quercia where he finished second in both. He was defeated by Jamaica’s wunderkind, Oblique Seville, who is 22 years old.
Omanyala also enjoyed setting records this season, starting with his indoor tour where he set a national record over the 60m.
Omanyala floored an elite start list headlined by Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs to record a time of 6.54 seconds at the Lievin World Indoor Tour meet in France.
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He then proceeded to set the 150m African record at the Atlanta City Games. He clocked 14.89 seconds over 150m to better Namibian Frankie Fredericks's mark of 14.99 but he still finished third on the day behind Lyles and Knighton.
4) Off-track success
Omanyala has also enjoyed signing several deals and being honoured during several events, thanks to his dominant exploits in the 100m.
He received Ksh2 million from the government which enabled him to facilitate his training and pay for his international trips.
The Kenyan has also been able to sign multi-million-dollar deals, his latest being with CFAO Motors to become an ambassador of the Toyota brand.
Omanyala also signed a lucrative deal with Team Visa in a ceremony held at the Ulinzi Sports Complex. He was also honoured with the award of the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) during Kenya's 60th Jamhuri Day celebrations by President William Ruto. Omanyala was also ranked among the top 10 most influential Kenyans in 2023.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) also honoured Omanyala for his 2023 dominant exploits. He posted on his X (Twitter) saying: “Thank you DCI for the appreciation award you accorded me for the achievements I have had in 2023. This means a lot and thank you so much for believing in me and supporting me.”
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The Western Jurists Forum also awarded Omanyala as the winner of the WJF IMBWI AWARD for his exceptional performance in the sports industry. Highlighted are just a few of the major milestones for Omanyala.
To cap off his brilliant year, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) treated Omanyala to a three-day holiday at the Maasai Mara National Reserve during the Christmas period.