Nairobi — Renowned sprints coach Geoffrey Kimani has explained the different slight changes he has made to African record holder Ferdinand Omanyala’s training regime and general lifestyle as he seeks to turn the talent into a world beater heading into the Olympic Games in Paris this year.
At the start of the season, Omanyala announced that he was switching coaches, and chose to work with Kimani who has had a proven track record in working at the top of the foodchain in Kenyan sports.
Kimani is a strength and conditioning consultant for the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOCK) and was Shujaa’s strength coach when they won the Singapore leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in 2016.
And now, Kim says he has been working to chisel out the non-ideal parts of Omanyala’s career as he looks to make him a sprinting icon in the world.
Speaking to Capital Sports, Kimani says he has addressed three issues; Omanyala’s weight, his time in the weight room in the gym as well as his diet, saying those three needed a big shift to enable him reach his potential.
Omanyala says he has lost three kgs, from 89 to 86, in just the last few weeks he has worked with Kimani.
Concerns around body work
“There were some concerns about his body work and we knew there were issues that needed to be addressed. His weight was one of them and we needed to bring it down because he was running quite heavy. There were also issued about his training regimen and we needed to address issues about the time he spent in the weight room as well as some physical aspects like mobility,” Kimani says.
He adds; “Sprinting is about moving from point A to point B as fast as possible and when you are applying the forces on the ground, you need to shed as much armor as possible. It is not about going to the gym to be bigger but to build stronger muscles.”
Kimani says he has successfully changed his training regimen and now spends more time on the track working on his mobility and take off speed, with lesser time spent lifting weights as opposed to last season.
Omanyala himself says he has enjoyed working with Kimani, saying he is already seeing changes in his results, having competed in the 400m and 200m in two of the Athletics Kenya weekend meets he has competed in. He ran the 200m in 20.42, a time he says even him was surprised with.
“You can see the difference,” Omanyala told Capital Sports.
Working on minor aspects
“He has been working on the minor aspects and I can feel the difference even in my body. He has insisted on shedding weight and hip mobility which is actually the wheel of the body. I have tested all the work over the last two meets and I can feel the difference. I have never run 20.4 in January,” quipped the Commonwealth Games champion.
Another aspect that Kimani has addressed is his nutrition, and says they had a conversation alongside her wife, also an athlete to try and improve on his diet.
“Ideally his body type packs on weight fast. We had a sitting with him and the wife and we talked about performance nutrition which includes what he takes and at what time. There is no question about his physical ability. He is talented. But two things; nutrition and recovery need to be taken care of to open many opportunities,” explains Kimani.
He says the performance over the 400m and 200m has shown him where he is at and they have also helped to bring his competitive mind to attention, having stayed for close to three months off competition.
Starts season with Indoor Tour
Omanyala starts his season with the World Indoor Tour, with two competitions in France in the first week of February. Ultimately, the bigger goal is the Olympic Games.
“We are going a step at a time. At the moment, the focus is on the Indoors. Of course the Olympics are at the back of our minds but we need to first go through the Indoors and work on bettering the 60s. They will really help us especially with the starts which we need to improve. Sprints is about very little details and even if you can chop off a microsecond from your time, it goes a long way,” says the revered coach.
Meanwhile, Kim is looking forward to achieving massive success with Omanyala, and believes he has the ability to step on the ceiling of world sprints.
“It is quite big, working with Ferdie. I have worked with him before in the Olympics team and I know his abilities. For a coach, a challenge is a challenge, no matter how big it is,” Kimani notes.