Yego and Rono book slots to Africa contest

By Denis Okeyo: Saturday, June 23rd 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics

Olympic javelin silver medalist Julius Yego and Vincent Rono have qualified for the 21st Africa Senior Athletics Championships.

Athletics Kenya will today name the team to the continental showpiece that runs in Asaba, Nigeria, between August 1 to 5. The first two across the line earn automatic slots and a wild card decision for the third spot.

In the yesterday's contest at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Yego, the 2015 world champion, posted his best season mark of 80.91 metres to secure his third appearance at the continental showpiece–basking in two gold medals from Marrakech (2014) and Benin (2016) outings.

Still smarting from dismal shows in two seasons, Yego is grateful to bounce back and, perhaps, enthrall fans with his trademark scream on the pitch.

The alumni of Kapsabet Boys High School and a police officer attached to Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is a student at Kenyatta University pursuing Public Police and Administration.

“I have not been training very well, but I am satisfied with my throws today (yesterday). I will be making my third appearance at the Africa Championships and hope to win my third gold medal,” said Yego.

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Vincent Rono emerged as the show stopper in the track, as he toyed around his opponents in men’s 10,000m contest.

Rono, 27, who has been a pacesetter in the IAAF Diamond League meetings, stormed into the lead and went on to tear the rich field to shreds, winning in an impressive 28: 17.2.

Rono, a member of the national team to the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, where he finished seventh, led 2014 Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medalist Josphat Bett, who timed 28:24.8 to pick the automatic slot to the west African nation. Kipsang Temoi was third in 28:27.5.

“I'm in great shape at the moment. I did not struggle; just had an easy race. I hope to maintain the top form up to Nigeria, where I am targeting a podium place,” said Rono.

Bett, the 2008 world junior 10,000m champion and member of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in Australia last April, said: “I have been suffering from a back injury. I'm glad to have healed. I wanted to make the team and strive to improve on my bronze medal I won at the 2014 Africa Senior Championships in Marrakech.”

Six-time Africa champion and 2010 Commonwealth Games 20km walk bronze medalist Grace Wanjiru picked her ticket to Africa meet in 1:33.0. Wanjiru set a 20Km race walk African record when she won 2010 Africa Championships in 1:34:19. Emily Ngii came second in 1:34.3 while Sylvia Kemboi finished third in 1:40.1.

Fireworks are expected when 2011 World Youth 400m silver medalist Alphas Kishoyian, Collins Omae, Boniface Mweresa, US-based duo in Raymond Kibet and Emmanuel Korir clash in 400m.