African champ Yego targets world glory
Africa and All Africa Games javelin champion Julius Yego on Sunday warmed up to the London Olympics when he broke his own national record at the Kuortane Games in Finland.
After poor weather saw Yego throw 75metres last Tuesday in a warm-up event, the conditions were just perfect the 23-year-old to improve his previous record by 1.17m on a cool afternoon.
Under the watchful eyes of his coach Petteri Pironnen, the Kenya Police corporal hauled his opening throw of 81.12m to break his previous record of 79.95 set on April 17 in Nairobi.
However, Yego’s feat saw him finish fifth behind home throwers winner Tero Pitkämäki with 84.90m followed by Lassi Etelätalo 84.06 and Ari Mannio 82.18.
Yego, who won the Africa title three weeks ago in Benin, has tremendously refined his act by almost 3m since breaking the national record with a throw of 78.34m that handed him the All Africa Games title last year in Maputo, making him the first Kenyan to win a field events title.
Before bettering his record in Nairobi, Yego had spend two months of training under Pironnen at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF)-recognised centre in Kuortane, Finland.
“Kuortane has become like my second home. I want to thank the amazing crowd in the stadium after they cheered and gave me love and support.
“I am now motivated and ready for the Olympics where my target is to reach the finals,” said Yego.
Athletics team manager Joseph Kinyua said the performance give Yego the confidence and motivation he requires to compete effectively at the London Olympics.
“Hitting above 80m is a world championship performance hence Yego joins the field of credible throwers. He can now target a medal in London,” said Kinyua, adding that they are happy their projects are bearing huge dividends, having taken Yego to Maputo, Benin and the specialised training in Finland. “It shows we are moving in the right direction hence we must put more efforts and resources in developing field events.”
Kinyua called on learning institutions right from primary school level to help Athletics Kenya identify talent.
Kinyua singled out fast-rising Boniface Mweresa and Alfas Kishoyan, who also represented Kenya in 4x400m in London.
The duo who represented Kenya in 400m at the just concluded World Junior Championships in Barcelona were identified from schools.
“They should help in identifying the talent and then recommend them to us so as to help them develop their talent further,” said Kinyua.
Yego earned his first national call-up at the Africa Senior Athletics Championships that was held in Nairobi.
He never disappointed to threw a personal best of 74.51m to scoop bronze medal a feat that counted for Kenya’s overall title victory.
He improved his best to 75.44 m at the national trials for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth and wound finish seventh overall at the “Club” Games with a throw of 69.60 m.
Yego, who has no local coach, has been christened the “YouTube” man after he embraced the technology to refine his skills.