Olympics javelin silver medallist Yego aiming at two more gold
Olympics javelin silver medallist and 2015 world champion Julius Yego is eying two more gold medals before retiring as an elite athlete.
Yego wants to win gold at the rescheduled in Tokyo, Japan next year and at least one in the two World Championships set to be held in 2022 and 2023.
The self-taught javelin star was training for the summer Olympics before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, forcing him to suspend his preparations. Yego says he already could feel his form coming back around March and was looking forward to competition.
He has, however, been forced to stay home now and wait for the pandemic to be controlled.
“Staying home without training is quite challenging but we have to get used to it. The situation is beyond human control and there is nothing we can do.
I am following all the guidelines that have been put in place to keep us safe. I am getting used to staying at home, just keeping fit as I cannot go through the normal training that involves javelin throws,” Yego told K24 sports presenter Caren Kibbett in an interview.
He added: “I have not thrown for more than a month which is funny as this would have been the busiest period.
I was to begin my season last weekend in Doha but it did not happen. It, however, is better to stay safe at this time.”
The African and Commonwealth record holder won silver at the Rio Olympics where he managed just one throw before suffering a right ankle injury.
Thomas Röhler of Germany won gold with a throw of 90.30m which came after Yego had suffered his injury and the Kenyan could not challenge the German for gold.
The year before, Yego had stunned the world when he threw 92.72m to win gold at the World Championships.
“Rio is one of those competitions I will never forget. I was so happy despite the fact that I was injured after the first throw.
Managing silver against the best throwers in the world was special. One of the officials in the medical room where I had been taken after the injury broke the news to me and I was elated.
I was in deep pain and was unable to celebrate like Rohler but I put on a brave face and gave the fans around the stadium a lap of honour,” Yego said.
Yego was in top form in the period between 2014 and 2016 where he won a Commonwealth gold, became a world champion and claimed silver at the Olympics.
His form took a dip as he finished 13th both at the 2017 World Championships and Commonwealth Games the following year. He finished eighth in last year’s World Championship.
“I was expecting this year to be a unique for me, like the period between 2014 to 2016 was.
I could feel that form coming back while in training around March but now this pandemic happened and we do not have any major championships until 2021. My focus was on the Olympics this year, it still is.
If I can get two gold medals in the world championship too, I would be the happiest athlete in the world given the conditions we train in.
Now I will only have three years for the major championships before I retire,” added Yego.
With the former world champion’s personal best at 92.72m, achieved at the 2015 World Championships, Yego will not be dwelling on breaking Jan Železný record which stands at 98.48m but will instead work on beating his own Personal Best (PB).
Focus on Olympics
“I do not want to compare myself to Železný, he is a legend of the sport and the world record holder.
I do not want to dwell on the record. Sometimes one can put themselves in an awkward position when they set out to chase a record.
What I will do instead is to continue pushing myself and hope that I can beat my 92 mark. I have no more than five years to compete as an elite athlete because my age is advancing,” added Yego.
The police officer has called on the sports administrators to work on providing all athletes with world class training facilities since many are willing to put in the work but the conditions they work in do not allow them to compete favourably with their peers from developed countries.
“Sometimes I see the conditions my fellow athletes train in and I sympathise with them because the facilities are bad.
I have been exposed to the best training facilities in the world, in Finland and South Africa and that has helped me maintain my level of competitiveness,” Yego said.