Africa's fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala

Commonwealth Games 100m champion and Africa's fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala has dared upcoming athletes to keep the focus on their goals and not give up.

“Everyone discouraged me from running short races. In fact, most of my friends wanted me to stay in rugby. But this is a dream I had, and I’m still dreaming of an Olympic gold medal just like you all are,” he said

Double Olympic 5,000 silver medalist Hellen Obiri, who was present reiterated Omanyala’s sentiments, urging the youths to work on their goals.

“Youths are the future of tomorrow. The next world 5000m champion is here among you. My dream is to still pursue a gold medal at the Olympics stage. I have not given up but this time it will be in a marathon. I can only imagine how much more you guys can do if you keep focus, ” said  Obiri while emphasizing the need to run clean and win easy.

The two were speaking at the closing ceremony of the 3rd edition of the Elite Youth Camp, which started on January 9 at Merishaw School, Isinya and was organised by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya.

The ceremony was presided over by the NOC-K first deputy president Shadrack Maluki, who urged the athletes to continue with the hard work.

“This is the first youth camp this year, with more set to happen in April, August, and December. We believe the youth team will perform exemplary in the Games ahead. This is a long-term transformational initiative aimed at enhancing our country’s performances during various international multi-sport events,” said Maluki, who was accompanied by deputy treasurer John Ogolla and executive member Winnie Kamau.

The Elite Youth Development program 2022-2026 seeks to transition from the Cairo Youth African Games in 2022 to Dakar 2026 Youth Olympic Games and finally the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

The elite youth camp has seen success stories, with the 2019 edition producing junior players, who went on to transition to the national senior teams such as the national women’s hockey team who participated in Birmingham and the women’s 3x3 basketball team.