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ferdinand omanyala suspension
Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala with his wife Laventa Amutavi. Photo/NTV Kenya
  • Kenyan athlete Ferdinand Omanyala sprinting prowess makes him a legend
  • Little is known about his 14-month suspension in Athletics for taking diprofos unknowingly
  • He has an impressive career boasting titles such as the African champion in both the 100 meters and 200 meters

Kenyan athlete Ferdinand Omanyala sprinting prowess makes him a legend but little is known about his 14-month suspension in Athletics for taking diprofos unknowingly.

Although he is now a big name etched into the annals of Kenyan athletics history, he has had his down moments as well. He has an impressive career boasting titles such as the African champion in both the 100 meters and 200 meters. Athletics pundits always say that his journey to the pinnacle of sprinting is nothing short of extraordinary.

However, his experience is that the road to success is rarely a smooth one. For Omanyala, it was fraught with unexpected obstacles and a suspension that threatened to derail his dreams.


In February 2021, Omanyala received a devastating blow that would change the course of his career. He was informed that he had tested positive for diprofos, a corticosteroid prohibited for athletes. Shock and confusion washed over him as he grappled with the implications of the test results. Omanyala, a dedicated and clean athlete, knew that he had never intentionally taken any banned substances.

Ferdinand Omanyala Botswana Golden grand Prix

Ferdinand Omanyala Botswana Golden grand Prix. Photo/World Athletics

Immediately, he launched an appeal to contest his suspension. He provided a detailed account of his use of a medication prescribed for his allergies, which contained diprofos. He explained that the diprofos traces found in his blood was as a result of his medication by his doctor which he followed religiously. The father of one further admitted that he was not aware that he was taking a banned substance

Throughout the appeal process, Omanyala presented compelling evidence to support his claims. He maintained that he had followed the prescribed medication regimen diligently. And until that point, he had not faced any issues or adverse effects. He was not a cheater; he was a victim of an unfortunate circumstance.


However, despite his heartfelt plea and supporting evidence, his appeal was met with a harsh reality. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) upheld his suspension, ruling that he had indeed violated anti-doping regulations. Omanyala, the African champion, was suspended from athletics for 14 months.

The weight of this decision could have easily broken a lesser athlete, but Omanyala chose to use it as a stepping stone, not a stumbling block. He was resolute in his determination to make a triumphant return. The 14-month suspension included the duration of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and it meant that he couldn’t have the opportunity to represent his nation on the grandest stage of all. For an athlete who had worked tirelessly to reach the pinnacle of his sport, it was a heart-wrenching blow.

However, rather than wallow in disappointment, Omanyala found the strength to turn adversity into an opportunity for growth. He knew that the only way to reclaim his former glory was through hard work and an unwavering commitment to his goals.

Throughout the suspension period, Omanyala remained dedicated to his training regimen. He was determined to maintain his fitness, improve his skills, and emerge stronger than ever. Every stride he took, every weight he lifted, and every sprint he ran was a testament to his resilience and tenacity.


Then, in February 2023, the world witnessed the resurgence of Ferdinand Omanyala. Making a triumphant return to competitive sprinting, he showcased his extraordinary talent by running a personal best of 9.81 seconds in the 100 meters. This remarkable performance catapulted him into the record books, making him the sixth fastest man in history.

Ferdinand Omanyala

Ferdinand Omanyala. [Ferdi Omanyala]

However, Omanyala’s journey was far from over. In June 2023, at the African Championships, he clinched the gold medal in the 100 meters, affirming his status as a dominant force in sprinting. The victory was not only a personal triumph but also a symbol of his unyielding spirit and unwavering dedication.  In a recent interview with Kenyan Swahili radio, Radio 47, he recounted that the 14 months in suspension were his lowest.

But, his wife Laventa Amutavi lit his world and took charge of ensuring that things at home moved on normally. She paid their house rent and also took care of other bills at home while speaking lots of hope to her husband. This made him pull through this period that shaped his zeal for athletics. Having triumphed over a significant setback, he now stands as a top contender for the coveted gold medal in the 100 meters at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.

Omanyala’s tribulations are a testament to the indomitable human spirit. In the face of adversity, he chose to rise rather than fall. He faced a suspension that could have shattered his dreams, but he transformed it into a stepping stone toward greatness. The 14-month suspension period came with uncertainty and heartache. It was a test of his character and resilience. Through his unrelenting determination and commitment, Omanyala emerged as a true champion, both on and off the track.


His journey reminds us that the path to success is rarely a straightforward one. It’s fraught with obstacles, challenges, and moments of self-doubt. But it’s in those moments of adversity that true champions are forged. As he continues to chase his dreams and inspire others with his story, he stands as a testament to the power of the human spirit and the unwavering pursuit of excellence. His redemption is not only a personal victory but also a triumph of the human will, reminding us all that greatness is born in the crucible of adversity.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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