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Ferdinand Omanyala: Kenyan sprinter could run as an independent at Olympics

Omanyala recently set a new national 100m record of 10.01 seconds to meet the qualifying time to compete at the Olympics, however a current Athletics Kenya regulation bars anyone with a past doping violation from representing the country.

The 25-year-old university student served a 14-month ban in 2017 after being found guilty of using a prohibited substance by the Kenya Anti-doping Agency (Adak).

The former rugby player, who only switched to athletics five years ago, argues he should be given a second chance having served his suspension.

His lawyer Sarah Ochwada says they are exploring all the possibilities to ensure that Omanyala can race in Tokyo later this year.

“We still would like him to run under team Kenya, because it is not clear which rule Athletics Kenya is relying on now to stop him from running under the Kenyan flag,” Ochwada told BBC Sport Africa.

“We have asked them to give us the specific regulation.

“Should AK not be willing to assist Omanyala to run as a Kenyan athlete in team Kenya, we can then request IOC to agree to let him to participate as an independent Olympian from Kenya, but under the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOCK) flag.

“He has a fighting spirit and he is intelligent. It is important for him to have his first Olympics now. Because of age you don’t know how many other Olympics he may be able to compete in.

“I am confident we will reach to an amicable solution.”

The Olympics Kenya head of delegation Jeremiah Kioni hinted Omanyala’s dilemma could be resolved when the NOCK and AK meet in the coming days.

Omanyala says he should be given a second chance, like many other athletes from around the globe have had.

“I understand and appreciate that Athletics Kenya is working hard to curb doping but what I can say is, mistakes and bad decisions do happen,” he told BBC Sport Africa.

“I have personally learnt from my past mistakes, I served my ban and I learnt so much from my experience.

“I am still in cloud nine honestly. The postponement of the Olympics has truly been a blessing in disguise, I now have a qualifying time as much as I am facing this huge obstacle, the first thing is always to prove yourself.”

SourceBBC NEWS
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