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Omanyala's preparation for World Champs hit by visa issues

Omanyala's first race at the World Athletics Championships is on Friday

Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala, the 100-meter African record holder, reacts after winning the men's 100m final during the national trials for the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games at the Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 25, 2022. (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

There is growing concern that Africa's fastest man, Ferdinand Omanyala will miss out on the World Athletics Championships set to be held in Eugene, USA following a delay in obtaining a visa.

The Championship is set to start on Friday, July 15 with Omanyala expected to participate in two 100m events, Preliminary Round and the Heats. However, as of July 13, the sprinter is yet to leave the country.

At the heart of the problem is the lack of available appointments to apply for a visa, with interviews required before the visas are issued.

According to numerous reports, Athletics Kenya, governing body for athletics in Kenya has asked the government for assistance in this regard by making contact with the US authorities.

The Kenyan 100m record holder is among six Team Kenya members who are yet to secure visas. The team was scheduled to leave the country in two batches on July 11 and 12.

“I have remained with the Team Manager and we are still waiting to hear from them. They told us they would be calling us and so it is just a matter of time. Of course it is worrying because my first race is on Friday and this is a long flight,” Omanyala told Capital Sport.

A Qatar Airways flight for example from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi to Mahlon Sweet Field in Eugene will last 24 hours 57 minutes in total. There will be a five hour 15 minute flight to Doha, Qatar then an hour 15 minute layover at Hamad Airport.

From Doha, Omanyala will embark on a 14 hour 35 minute journey to Tacoma International Airport in Seattle before a two hour 45 minute layover in Seattle. Omanyala will finally arrive in Eugene one hour seven minutes later.

“It takes almost 22 hours to get there and as a sportsman you need sometime to rest and also train a bit to shake the jet lag. Looking at all circumstances and my first race being on Friday, I am just hoping I can leave today (Wednesday) so that I get there Thursday night and rest up a bit,” said the 26-year-old.

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