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Omanyala wants fellow athletes to plan well for future

The 26-year-old sprints sensation is seen as a role model for youngsters

In Summary

•The workshop aimed to empower and educate athletes to ensure their opinions remain at the heart of decision-making.

•This is a program run by the IOC to ensure athletes strengthen their future life after sports. It highlights the power, impact, and purpose of what athletes can become after a lifetime of sports.

Ferdinand Omanyala celebrates after winning 100m gold at the recent Commonwealth Games.
Ferdinand Omanyala celebrates after winning 100m gold at the recent Commonwealth Games.
Image: FILE

Commonwealth 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala has asked athletes to plan for their future so that they can live a comfortable life when they retire.

Omanyala spoke after a two-day workshop organised by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya at the Sportsview hotel in Nairobi on Friday.

The 26-year-old sprints sensation is seen as a role model for youngsters.

"Career change is something that will happen to every athlete because no sports career can last forever. I haven't done it yet but I'm planning to," Omanyala said.

"Right now, I'm at the peak of my career and learning how to stay disciplined, knowing my abilities, values, and impacting other people's lives is also important," he added.

The workshop aimed to empower and educate athletes to ensure their opinions remain at the heart of decision-making.

This is a program run by the International Olympic Committee to ensure athletes strengthen their future life after sports. It highlights the power, impact, and purpose of what athletes can become after a lifetime of sports.

Of the 40 athletes selected to attend the conference, 20 were drawn from local federations.

Among them are those who participate in some of the sports currently being introduced at the Olympics including gymnastics, breakdancing, and E-sports.

In his opening speech, NOCK President Paul Tergat encouraged the athletes to seize the opportunity and start planning for their career transition.

“The sports window is very small; an injury can keep you from competing. This generation is fortunate to have such sessions, some of my colleagues retired and did not know what to do next. Take control of your future.”

Secretary general Francis Mutuku urged the athletes to continue working hard as 2023 will be one of the busiest years with six games coming up.

The second day was highlighted by a facilitator from the athlete 365 Program, Kadi Kanoute. Kadi, a former Malian basketball player and Olympian at the 2008 Summer Olympics, currently serves as the chairman of the Education Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency. She is also a senior trainer and member of the International Olympic Committee's Work Program steering committee.

Kadi is an example of an athlete who has defied limits and boundaries."I wasn't lucky enough to know what an athlete's life would be like and so when I retired, it was difficult. In my 30s, I didn't know what to do, I couldn't even wear a suit," Kadi said.

"I decided to focus on Africa and show our athletes back home how opportunities exist when you plan and invest in your sports life for your life after sports.

"NOCK athletes' representative and chairman of the Athletes Commission, Humphrey Kayange spoke about the transition from professional sports to normal life.

"We have had an empowerment session on how they can move forward and the habits and practices they can develop after their working days. We believe the session we have had this year is very important and we expect to bring good results in the future," Kayange said.

Rugby player Vincent Onyala thanked the organisers for facilitating the event, saying it provided an appropriate platform for athletes to express their concerns.

"This is a great platform for me, it's been informative and creative, and I can't wait to go and share it with my colleagues. I'm currently studying and playing Rugby at the same time so I'm glad this conference has opened my eyes," Onyala said.