African 100m record holder pledges to plant 1 million trees in 2023

African 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya has signed on to an initiative to personally plant one million trees in the 2023 track season. The Kenyan news outlet Nation reported that Omanyala, the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 100m, discussed his tree-planting plans at a ceremony on Friday ahead of the Kip Keino Classic meet in Nairobi. 

Omanyala (whose 100m PB of 9.77 seconds is the fastest in African history) has been working on his tree-planting project since the start of 2023. He is working in tandem with Athletics Kenya, which has reportedly engaged in similar initiatives surrounding climate change and air quality. Jack Tuwei, Athletics Kenya’s president, told Nation that both climate change and air quality have negative effects on sport, which prompted the organization to act. 

Omanyala told the press that he hopes more athletes will support this campaign. “I’m aiming to plant one million trees this season, and my plea to the other athletes and anyone supporting sports is to join the campaign, because this is what we need as sports men and women,” he said.

He continued, saying, “by planting trees, the community is also set to benefit from clean air.” This is Omanyala’s main reason for setting out on his project of planting one million trees, adding that he wants to “fill every space available [in Kenya] with trees.” While he is only focused on working in Kenya, Omanyala acknowledged the global issues presented by climate change, saying it is “a worldwide concern.” 

A day after his tree-planting ceremony, Omanyala raced in front of a home crowd at the Kip Keino Classic. He beat Americans Kenny Bednarek and Marvin Bracy-Williams to the line, running a world-leading time of 9.84 seconds to take the win. Bednarek finished in second in 9.98 and Bracy-Williams crossed the line in 10.03. 

posted Sunday May 21st
by Running Magazine