Visa has announced that Ferdinand Omanyala has joined its Team Visa roster athletes who are drawn from around the globe. Omanyala joins the team at a time when they are preparing to compete at The Olympic & Paralympic Games Paris 2024.
In August 2021, Omanyala became the first Kenyan sprinter to break the ten second barrier. Thereafter, he set a new African record of 9.77 seconds in September. He officially became the African champion in June 2022, before winning Kenya’s first 100m gold at the Commonwealth Games in August, the country’s first in 60 years.
Since 2000, the Team Visa athlete program has championed more than 600 Olympic and Paralympic athletes selected based on their athletic achievements, community involvement, and alignment with Visa’s core values of equality, access, and inclusion. This initiative is a part of Visa’s overall efforts to empower athletes to be successful both on the field and off.
The program essentially helps athletes thrive personally and professionally by providing financial support. Assistance with philanthropic endeavors, financial literacy tools as well as mental health and wellness resources.
Athletes are selected to join the program based on their athletic achievements, personal journey, and social impact. These should be aligned with Visa’s brand values and priorities including diversity, equity, inclusion and commitment to uplifting their communities.
During the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Team Visa comprised of 102 athletes, spanning 54 markets and 28 sports. Of this number, 56 female, 46 male, reinforcing Visa’s commitment to gender equality in sports, business and beyond.
Some of the athletes in the Team Visa roster include, Simone Biles a gymnast from USA. She inspired global audiences as she became the first woman to land a Yurchenko double pike vault in competition. She also captured her record-setting 7 th U.S. National Title. Sky Brown, a skateboarder from Great Britain, who is Team Visa’s youngest Olympian at age 12. She is an unmatched source of optimism and strength on social.
Other than supporting athletes at the height of their athletic career, Visa also helps them transition to the next chapter of their lives. They do this via their Olympians and Paralympians in Business Development Program (OPBDP). The program offers a two-year rotational program that provides access to a variety of business areas at Visa. This is as athletes look to explore a professional career beyond sports.
The Olympian and Paralympian in Business Development Program leverages on Visa’s partnership with the International Olympic Committee. To build a strong entry level pipeline of talent with cross-functional knowledge and experience. The OPBDP is a 12-month program with two six-month rotations through Visa’s various functions. These include Digital Solutions, Marketing & Communications, Product, and Merchant Sales & Solutions.
Successful candidates have an opportunity to continue with the program for an additional year. In addition to meaningful work experience, athletes are given training and development, mentoring, networking, and leadership exposure.
Ferdinand Omanyala had this to say, “I started my career in tennis at a young age and even if I’m still learning, I’m trying to use my voice and become a role model for other young people. Joining Team Visa with so many incredible athletes will help me continue to advocate for what’s important to me, advancing the sport and social issues that matter most to me.”
Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, Ag. General Manager for East Africa at Visa had this to say, “Africa has borne witness to the rise of an exceptional talent in the sprinting arena over the last three years as Omanyala has continually broken new ground in his career, and we are proud to welcome Omanyala to Team Visa and champion all that he stands for. Omanyala is an example of what hard work and dedication can do to achieve your dreams, while inspiring the next generation.”