Nairobi — African 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala is one of the seven athletes awarded scholarships on Thursday morning by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K).
Others are 5000m World and Commonwealth Games silver medallist, sensational 1500m World Leader Abel Kipsang, men's 5000m youngster Nicholas Kimeli and fellow 5000m athlete Jacob Krop.
Others are Beatrice Chebet (3000m) and Charles Simwoto (1500m).
The sponsorship is courtesy of the ANOCA Athlete support programme to boost the top-level athletes in their preparation and qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Each of the scholarship holders will receive a monthly subsidy of Ksh 118,00 ($1000) a month from now until August 2024 to support their training and qualification costs. This includes specialized coaching services, equipment, local/overseas training, regular medical assistance and monitoring and other items that would assist the athletes so that they can focus on their journey to prepare and qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The scholarships awards were presented to the athletes today at the NOC-K offices by NOC-K President Paul Tergat alongside Athletics Kenya President General Jackson Tuwei.
NOC-K Executive Members, Secretary General Francis Mutuku, Chef De Mission John Ogolla and Male Athlete Representative preside over the event.
The athletes were nominated by their respective federations and presented by NOC-K to ANOCA for vetting by their International Federations (IF) based on their past performances at Major events and Olympic Games.
"Athletes benefiting today would be happy to note that out of a huge pool of 101 Athletes submitted for scholarship consideration, only the seven of you here today were accepted onto the programme, Congratulations," Tergat said.
Omanyala, the fastest man in Africa has been at the spotlight in the past one year since his accomplishment as the first Kenyan athlete to reach the semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking during the presentation, Omanyala said; "I will be lying if I say I expected this, this means Paris 2024 is just a blink away. I want to make my country proud and continue inspiring the nation. Thank you so much NOC-K for this opportunity."
He won the first African 100-metre sprint title in 32 years at the 2022 African Athletics Championships and still holds the African and National record of 9.77.
Chelimo has been a force to reckon in the 12-and-a-half laps race for close to a decade where she has bagged a series of titles, including the African Games gold medal (2015) and silver medals in Africa Championships (2016), Commonwealth Games (2018) and World Championships (2019).
For Kimeli, he represented the country in the 2022 Tokyo Olympics 5000m and finished fourth. This year, has seen him smash several meeting events including breaking a record of Eliud Kipchoge's 12.46.53 and clocking a world-leading time of 12.46.33.
He will double up this year to the Oregon 2022 World Championships and 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
When asked about his aim with the scholarship, to bring home an Olympic, World Championships and Commonwealth Gold medal.
1500m Kipsang's Tokyo 2020 Olympics record, 3.31.65 must have fueled the 25-year-old setting foot into this year.
This year, he won bronze medal in the 2022 Belgrade World Indoor Championship setting a personal best of 3.33.36. and won a gold medal at the Africa Athletics Championships in Mauritius.
The opening leg of the Wanda Diamond league in Doha and the second leg in Birmingham inside Alexander Stadium- the venue for the 2022 Commonwealth Games also saw the young lad smoothly take a win.
"My preparations towards Paris 2024 start as early as now. The 1500m is quite competitive so I intend to use this scholarship to better my performances."
Fifth place in the 5000m World Rankings Jacob Krop will also be looking to make it to up his performance come 2024 after a tough luck at the 2021 Olympic trials due to KCSE examination preparations.
He however ended the year on a high winning the race at the Kip Keino Classic on September 18.
"It was quite unfortunate to miss the Tokyo Olympics but now, receiving this scholarship has proven to me that second chances in life are even sweeter. I'm so happy and I thank NOC-K for providing this opportunity and making my belief in an Olympic medal get closer to me."
2018 World U-20 5,000M and 2019 World Cross Country gold medalist Chebet has also received the scholarship as she prepares for a Commonwealth and World Championship debut.
"As an athlete, you're always privileged to get any kind of support and to know I can now get some funds to train, go to championships and get more confident in my races."