World Athletics Championships: Ferdinand Omanyala a doubt with visa issues

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Africa's fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala faces a race against time for an American visa so he can compete at the World Athletics Championships.

"Sad that I haven't travelled to Oregon yet and 100m is in 2 days. Visa delays!!" the 26-year-old Kenyan sprinter posted on Instagram.

"If I make it go the starting line, it will be fireworks. I thrive on setbacks."

Currently the third-quickest man in the world this season behind Americans Fred Kerley and Trayvon Bromell, Omanyala set the African 100m record of 9.77 seconds in September last year.

The World Championships begin on Friday and last until 24 July, and Athletics Kenya executive member Barnabas Korir says several other athletes have also been affected by visa delays.

"We are anxiously waiting for the US embassy to issue visas for a number of athletes, including Omanyala. Hopefully they will be able to fly out today," Korir told AFP.

Omanyala's rise to African champion

A rugby player-turned-sprinter, Omanyala only started his athletics career in 2016, but served a 14-month doping ban in 2017 after returning a positive drugs test for a banned substance.

He made a strong comeback to reach the 100m semi-finals at his first Olympics, setting a new Kenyan record of 10.00s at the Tokyo Games.

The fast-improving Omanyala's African record last September now ranks him as the ninth-fastest man in history.

However, he admits the past continues to blight his achievements because his fastest times have come since returning from his doping ban - which he claims made him "a victim of circumstance" after taking a painkiller which had steroid in it.

Omanyala clocked a world-leading time of 9.85s in May in Nairobi before setting his sights on success outside his country.

He also delivered at June's African Championships. He was crowned continental champion after beating title holder Akani Simbine of South Africa by just three thousandths of a second.

That success in Mauritius made him the second Kenyan to become African 100m champion - and he is now inspiring new wave sprinters in the East African nation.

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