Nairobi — African record holder Ferdinand Omanyala says he comes into the 2024 season with a different mentality, saying he has shifted his focus completely from big targets and lofty ambitions to taking each race at a time.
Omanyala, speaking to Capital Sports, says he learnt tough lessons from last year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest which humbled him, having walked in to the Hungarian capital with an ambition of winning a stacked 100m race.
“No predictions. Just taking a race at a time,” Omanyala said, as he spoke of his season’s plans.
He adds; “This year I am going in with a different mentality. I don’t want to give you people too much expectation like in Budapest. I will just wait and take each race at a time.”
“It is a tough lesson that I don’t need to go so much ahead of myself and handle each race as it comes. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself but rather take each race as it comes and then we see what we can do this year,” the speedstar further says.
At the World Championships in Budapest, Omanyala made the final for the first time ever, but couldn’t battle to get into medal prospects despite travelling with so much expectation and confidence.
This year, just like he did in 2023, Omanyala starts off with the indoor season, with two races in France before going for a short training camp in Germany.
The bigger target, as is with every athlete, is the Olympic Games in August.
“I am taking each race as it comes. As at now, the focus is on the two indoor races and then the World Indoor Championships. My target is to get the execution right in every race. No predictions, let’s just wait and see,” a rather reserved Omanyala states.
He has started his season competing in endurance races at the Athletics Kenya Track and Field meets, doing the 400m in the first meet and last weekend did the 200m, a race which he hopes to be more prominent in this season.
He clocked 20.42 and 20.46 in his two races, and says he feels in perfect shape.
“I have never run a 20.4 in January so definitely I feel better. The target was to run below 20.5 and I am glad we achieved that. I feel I am better in the 200. The fear of the curve is gone. Last time I pulled my calf in the bend but now I feel comfortable running the bend. I think this is the best pre-season,” Omanyala says.
There has been talk that he is looking to double in both the 100m and 200m heading to the Olympics and despite playing his cards close to his chest, he was short of confirming the same.
“This year I will be going into more 200m races. I have watched previous races from last year and we will keep learning from them. This is a new field for me and I am going harder this time but I have to see how its done and get it like I have in the 100m. I have to go in with the same mentality and try to do sub-20 in all races,” Omanyala explains.
He starts off his competitive season with the Miramas Indoor meet on February 2, before travelling to Paris on the 11th for the second meet. He then travels to Germany for a short camp and will travel back to Nairobi to heat up preparation for the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow from March 1-3.