Dennis Ombachi

Gordon Ramsay videos, TikTok: How Olympian Dennis Ombachi managed to cope with bipolar disorder

Nothing is more revered in sports than winning the final point and snatching victory out of the jaw’s defeat. Every sport’s greatest match has that moment that sticks in the minds of fans forever. But not for Kenya rugby’s Dennis Ombachi.

He said that he couldn’t recall much about the Kenya Sevens try he scored just after the buzzer went. It was the one that sent the Kenya Sevens team to Rio. The only thing I can remember was getting the hooter, hearing Benjamin Ayimba, Kenya’s head coach, and the technical bench yelling “Omba, Omba!”

Ombachi, from his 22-yard box, handed two Zimbabwe tackles to Ombachi before storming down and scoring the try that qualified Kenya into the inaugural Olympic Rugby Sevens.

Ombachi was a member of the Kenyan team that traveled to Rio. He rubbed shoulders and learned from the best athletes in the world. Ombachi also became a regular player in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The Kenyan star was at his peak of power, but he suffered a serious leg injury that left him unable to walk for the remainder of the year.

Ombachi’s mental state would be more affected than his leg. Ombachi was forced to leave his home and had no choice but to wait for his leg’s heal. He struggled to cope, and finally tried to take his own life.

“Bones and muscle heal eventually. Ombachi says that what I didn’t consider was the mental toll it would take on me. “I still suffer from it a little today,” Ombachi recalls.

Friends, family… and Gordon Ramsay saved it

Friends and family intervened and Ombachi was admitted to the hospital. He was later

diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This is a mental illness that causes manic highs, depression lows, and periods of psychosis.

Ombachi still remembers, however, that his hobby of cooking was what helped him through the darkest phase in his life.

The winger was a passionate cook and had always enjoyed food, which he enjoyed greatly in his career.

“My passion for food and rugby are intertwined because it began when I was playing the HSBC legs. You tour around 18 countries a calendar year, and each country has its own culture, languages, and food. Ombachi stated that we used to eat different kinds of food.

“I used to go back home to challenge myself to create the dishes that I had tried. That’s how passion grew.

Particularly, Gordon Ramsay, the famous chef, was an inspiration to the housebound athlete.

Ombachi said, “Through his YouTube channel, I was able to understand the basics, the principles, and how you use your tastebuds.”

He says, “That’s what got me through most depressive moments, especially those times when I was injured,” before laughing and adding, “In cookery, Gordon Ramsay was our mentor even though he doesn’t know.”

Ombachi’s career was hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ombachi was suddenly forced to stay indoors, without income, after the Sevens circuit was canceled and the Kenya Rugby Union terminated his contract.

Tik Tok: From rugby to cooking

Ombachi returned to the kitchen. Ombachi started making videos of his cooking with the help of Humphrey Kayange, his mentor and former captain.

He quickly found a style that would distinguish him from other content creators. These videos were produced in a hurry, with Ombachi narration and punctuating each step by saying “Done!”

Ombachi began his career in Kenya with a large following as an athlete. He was active on Twitter and Instagram but it would be TikTok that would make Ombachi a worldwide phenomenon.

It was one video, specifically, that caused the player, who is now permanently residing in Nairobi, to explode.

Ombachi said, “From time to time, I cook lots of food and then give it to the children on the streets so I shot one video of me doing the same.”

“I prepared the food, gave out the food, and it went viral on Twitter and TikTok.” This video alone helped me gain over 300,000.

This video of Ombachi making chicken stew with chapatis and packaging it up to hand out to children in Nairobi streets has been viewed over 15 million times on TikTok.

“I believe this [cooking with street children] is something I learned back in high school. I felt a bit depressed and lost at times. So I ran away from school. I knew that I didn’t want my family to return. So I fled and became a street child for a week.

“I made many street kids friends, and it helped me understand and empathize. They are human beings going through the same struggles as us. Their opportunities are better than mine. “

Dennis is just like when he represented Kenya in the world. He remembers his roots and the people he represents. This is why Dennis is open about his mental health issues.

According to the 2017 World Health Organization report on mental health, Kenya was ranked fifth in Africa for depression cases. An estimated 10% of people in Kenya have a common mental disorder.

Although the government established a mental health task force to address the crisis in 2019, it is still a rural country with many needs.

Many athletes and social media stars have used their platforms to raise awareness about mental health and to partner with charities and organizations.

Ombachi supports this work but also believes that those with public profiles can help others to embrace their mental health struggles.

“If regular people talk about it in their normal lives, it will hit the spot more.”

Ombachi has two children and is now looking for a more stable life than a world-traveling rugby player.

He’s also following the lead of Gordon Ramsay, his mentor. He has set up a masterclass in Nairobi to teach people how they can make gourmet food.

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