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SPORTS

Javelin champion Yego eyes maiden Olympic gold in Tokyo

ATHLETICS By Elvince Joshua | May 14th 2021
Julius Yego competes in the Javelin final during the National Athletics Championships 2019 at Nyayo National stadium in Nairobi on August 22, 2019. [Photo, Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Former World Javelin champion Julius Yego has promised to improve his performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games that will officially kick off on July 24.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) sergeant, who won a silver medal in 2016 in Brazil with his first and only throw after picking an injury in the first round, says he is going for nothing of a gold medal in Japan.

“For me, it is the elusive Olympic gold medal. I am going for a big one,” said Yego, who has ?since? ??shaken off a groin injury he picked up in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Yego, who holds both the Africa and Commonwealth record for the event with a personal best of 92.72 meters, lost the world title in London?,?? four years ago. He has struggled to throw over 90 meters since.

But Yego, who is one of the few Kenyans with a medal prospect in the field events, in Tokyo, now believes that he can dethrone the 2016 Olympic Champion and 2018 European Champion Thomas Rowler.

“I believe that injury handicapped my prospects, but I thanked God I got a silver because we had some of the best throwers who did not have big throws,” he said.

Having won the 2015 World Championships in Beijing’s Birds Nest stadium, he feels this is the time to claim the elusive Olympic gold medal.

“I am going there having battled injuries for almost three years and having not thrown over 90m since 2015. So, I am focusing on my health and wait and see what comes in Tokyo. It’s my hope and prayer to win in Tokyo. Pray for me,” said Yego.

Yego also dismissed the retirement talk, saying that he might be in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“I don’t want to say it’s my last Olympics, but who knows, maybe I can still be in Paris 2024. But this will depend on my health to be able to compete at a high level. For me, it’s not only to appear at the Olympics or major event, but the capability to compete at a high level, he explained. 

At the same time, Yego has challenged Kenyan athletes to avoid using short cuts (doping) to rise to stardom, but instead put in more effort training.

“Doping is a global cancer in athletics. It bothers me to always see my fellow athletes being banned for indulging into it, yet they know that it’s just a day or two before you are caught,” said Yego.

“Hit the training seriously and remain focused. Be determined, believe and you will shine but we should avoid the short cuts and compete clean.”

But if there is one thing that gives Yego sleepless nights after escaping the busy life in Eldoret , the city of Champions, that has been his training venue since last year, then it’s the lack of commitment in supporting field events and sprints by relevant authorities.

“We need to be more serious and more so into these field events. What we need are the equipment and good infrastructure for field and sprints with very good programs. Above all, coaching is key,” concluded Yego who moved his family to Eldoret when Covid-19 broke out in early 2020.

 

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