Laventa Amutavi hopes to soon follow her fiancé, Ferdinand Omanyala’s footsteps into the world of athletics.
Last year, when Omanyala smashed the African 100-metre record, he credited his fine form to the sacrifices his girlfriend had to make to see his training was seamless.
He intimated while he was not working, his girlfriend took care of all the bills including rent.
“We had a baby, and I was in a financial position to help. I knew the potential Omanyala possessed and that is why I gave him time to pursue his dream. I am glad it is paying off,” says Amutavi, a social worker by profession
She also says that fate has always pushed her and Omanyala towards each other.
“In 2017, after performing well in university championships both in Kenya and East Africa, I was chosen to represent Kenya at the World University Games in Taipei. Coincidentally Omanyala, who I had started dating the previous year was also headhunted for the games. The officials did not know we were dating.
“The games changed my perspective about sports. I did not perform well, but I saw the potential the sport can offer and how it can open ways for people to travel the global and that is why I started concentrating in athletics.”
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Amutavi harbours the dream of representing the country at this year’s Commonwealth Games and Africa Athletics Championships.
“My athletics career stalled for obvious reasons; I had to look after our son and work at the same time. However, I have stopped working to fully concentrate on running and soon the results will start coming, I know the potential I have. I love 100m dash and Long Jump, those are my specialities. This year my hope is to make the team to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham,” says Amutavi, who holds personal best of 12.4sec and 5.45m in 100m and Long Jump, respectively.
The couple is not your typical Kenyan athletes who shy away from the spotlight after raking huge winning bonuses and appearance fees globally.
“Sprints is more showbiz, and the fans need to recognise you, and I am glad Omanyala is utilising his brand well as a sprinter,” she said.
Amutavi admits things have changed since Omanyala became the fastest man in Africa after shattering the previous record held by South Africa’s, Akani Simbine to 9.77 during the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi last year that also saw him land a lucrative deal with shoemaker, Adidas.
“Things were tough on him, but he put on a brave face, his attitude towards challenges is phenomenal and inspiring. Now that things have changed, people are recognising and appreciating him more.
Two weeks ago during the Athletics Kenya Track and Field Weekend meet at Nyayo Stadium, everyone wanted a piece of him and he is enjoying the attention he is receiving.
His performance has also influenced many young people to take up sprints,” says Amutavi.
Her plan after athletics is to build a career in Sports Psychology and ultimately use her experience to support those in the industry.