Black Excellence: Meet Africa’s Fastest Man


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Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala is currently Africa’s fastest man. He has cracked short-distance running, a race in which Kenyan has struggled to build a reputation. He competes in the 100m and has made his name known. 

In 2021, he ran a time of 9.77 seconds at the Kip Keino Classic to record the fastest time in Africa and the ninth in history. How did he achieve this? Let’s find out more about Ferdinand Omanyala.  

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Ferdinand Omanyala’s Profile Summary

Full name: Ferdinand Omanyala Omurwa 

Place of birth: Bungoma County, Kenya

Date of birth: 2nd January 1996

Age: 27 years old

Zodiac sign: Capricorn  

Gender: Male 

Nationality: Kenyan 

Height in feet: 5’9” 

Weight in pounds: 181

Events: 100m, 200m

Relationship status: Married

Current residence: Nairobi, Kenya 

Instagram: @ferdiomanyala 

Facebook: Ferdinand Omanyala

Twitter: @Ferdiomanyala 

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Ferdinand Omanyala’s Background

Black Excellence: Meet Africa’s Fastest Man
Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala. Image Source: The Standard licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ferdinand Omanyala was born on 2 January 1996 in Bungoma County, Kenya. He has four siblings and is the third child. He had a pretty standard childhood. 

Africa’s fastest man studied at St Erastus Preparatory, then went to Friends Schools Kamusinga. He later joined the University of Nairobi to study Chemistry and Physical Sciences.  

“I’ve lived in Western Kenya my whole life. 2015 was the first time I came to Nairobi. I was joining the University of Nairobi to pursue Chemistry and Physical Sciences.” Omanyala told Trudy YouTube channel.

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Ferdinand Omanyala’s Career

Ferdinand played sports in high school. He started as a rugby player, and after his successes in high school, he was invited to the Kenyan Sevens U20 team, but the trials didn’t go through. 

This forced him to redirect his attention to athletics. In 2015, he competed in his first Athletics Kenya meets in Kakamega and ran a time of 10.4 seconds. He competed in the national trials and won in a time of 10.37 seconds. He missed out on the Olympic trial time by 21 seconds.

In 2017, Ferdinand Omanyala found himself on the wrong side of things. He was suspended for 14 months by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for testing positive for using banned substances. 

Recalling this incident, Africa’s fastest man said he was a victim of circumstances.

“I felt I was a victim of circumstance. It was a painkiller and then it turned out it had a steroid in it, and that (experience) is what shaped me to be the person that I am today.” Omanyala told BBC Sport Africa.

He used this as an opportunity to revamp himself. When he got back on track, Omanyala made up for lost years and worked to be where he is now. 

In March 2021, he set a national record in Lagos, Nigeria, after completing the 100m in 10.01 seconds. During the Tokyo Olympics, Omanyala shed off a second and set another national record of 10.0. He finished second in the semifinals.

He went to Austria in the same month and ran under 10 seconds. Here he clocked a time of 9.86 seconds. In September of the same year, he ran 9.77 seconds, Africa’s fastest time at the Kip Keino Classic. 

In August 2022, Omanyala became the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in the 100m race in the Commonwealth Games. On winning it, he said:

“It feels nice, I know it will take days to sink in. It feels nice in front of this receptive crowd.” He told Nation Africa.

“It needed someone to break the barrier because there’ll be so many other sprinters coming through. It will have a lot of impact now that I have two championship gold medals and an African record.”

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Ferdinand Omanyala’s Awards and Achievements


  • African Championships – 100m – 9.93 seconds
  • African Championships – 4x100m – 39.28 – National Record
  • Commonwealth Games – 100m – 10.02 seconds

Ferdinand Omanyala is a true African gem. He is opening the doors for many young people in a speciality that Kenya has struggled in.

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