- Mark Odhiambo’s tale is one that is exceptionally intriguing.
- He qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics alongside Ferdinand Omanyala but he would fail a doping test just as he was about to take on the heats.
- Odhiambo is set to make a comeback this year in July after a ruling confirmed his doping was unintentional.
Mark Otieno Odhiambo is a sprinter who dared to dream and was determined to put Kenya on the global map. Whenever he took to the tracks with Ferdinand Omanyala, he would make the fastest man in Africa break a sweat.
Odhiambo was second in the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers, after clocking a cool 10.05 seconds to officially qualify for the Japan Olympics.
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Interestingly, he had worked for this achievement for at least 7 years. He had never hit such a time, and was doing around 10.3 seconds just days to the qualifiers.
With the achievement, numerous corporates scrambled to sign him, including an unnamed betting firm. One would think that having struggled to purchase sprinting shoes, Odhiambo was going to take the offer without a second thought.
But Odhiambo’s strong faith wouldn’t allow him to sign a deal with a bookmaker.
“In our hearts, we were like we can’t do betting companies because even in our church we were dealing with teenagers,” he told Caroll Radull.
It is reported that Odhiambo would later get into a handsome deal estimated to be Ksh 1 million with Safaricom.
Failing Doping Test
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The 29 year old appeared to have set his sails just in the correct position to propel his career to a global lustre.
In his mind, failing a doping test was the last thing that could jeopardize his ambition of competing against elite athletes at Tokyo. He had gone through numerous tests and never had he failed.
His samples were taken just days to the start of the 100m heats. Then four hours to the race, he received a call from a Team Kenya doctor asking him to present himself in the office.
When he arrived in the room, he sensed something was sinister. The tension was palpable.
It was then confirmed to him that he had failed a doping test. The news was a shocker for him and as he opened his e-mail, he was met with a message confirming the same. The mail was written in red fonts and in capitals.
Odhiambo maintained his innocence even as his reputation got soiled by the matter. Months later, he talked to Caroll Radull to shed light on the issue. Odhiambo was overwhelmed with emotions and struggled to hold back his tears.
“I was like, I really don’t know where this thing has come from because even reading the methasterone that was being quoted, I’m like I don’t even know where this thing has come from,” he said.
According to him, he had used a supplement which apparently had a banned substance but it had not been disclosed in the ingredients. Odhiambo has been fighting to clear his name and provided evidence of the whole batch of the supplement.
He has recently been cleared of the allegations after a 52 page ruling declared that his doping was unintentional. He will get back to the tracks in July, 2023.
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