Former world javelin champion Julius Yego has his neighbours in Eldoret worried and anxious.
He has turned his backyard into an improvised training ground following government restriction on movement and social gathering to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Like a caged tiger, Yego, also an ex-Commonwealth and African Games champion, is uneasy.
He is eager to return to proper training instead of being cautious to avoid scaring neighbours who fear the javelin could land in their compounds.
Yego is unhappy with the lack of world-class training facilities in the North Rift region and in Kenya in generally. Nation Sport caught up with the national record holder training in limited space at his home in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.
Yego stays in shape by going for an early morning run before returning home and throwing the javelin over a short distance - a thing he is not comfortable with.
“I have been forced to retreat to my small compound because of lack of proper training facilities,” he said.
“Kipchoge Keino Stadium, which is near my home, has been under construction for the last four years and this is not a good show,” Yego, who was accompanied with his two sons Finny Kigen (1 year and 10 months) and Jarvis Kiptoo (five).
He said that training at home has been difficult. “We hope things we normalise soon and we shall be out training, but for now I’m here doing small throws and staying safe with my family. This has also given me advantage of interacting with my two boys. We have been doing small chores together,” Yego said.
But as Yego hoped the government will lift restrictions on movement, President Uhuru Kenyatta in his address to the nation yesterday, extended cessation of movement from the hardest his areas and a nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew for 30 more days.
Since winning a bronze medal in African Championships in 2010, Yego has been steadily improving.
He won gold medals at the African Championships (2012, 2014 and 2018), African Games (2011), and one each in Commonwealth Games and World Championships in 2015 where he threw his personal best of 92.72 metres.
At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Yego stood out as the man to beat. However, he settled for a silver medal after one throw because an ankle injury.
He had plans to improve on the silver at the Tokyo Olympic Games that were to be held from next month.
However, the Summer Games were postponed to next year because of coronavirus pandemic.
“I had done good training and I was in top form by March. I was in the right frame of mind to throw up to 85m.
“All that effort went to waste because there is no competition,” Yego said.
He together with other sportsmen and women have nearly a full year to train for the Olympic Games.
“The lengthy training period is an advantage for those who had injuries. For me, I will be looking forward to improve my performance.
“I want to win an Olympic gold medal, which is the only medal missing in my trophy cabinet,” he said.
Yego said Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi was the best training ground before the pandemic. He is now held up in Eldoret while paying rent in Nairobi, which he said is expensive.
“If we had good training facilities here, I won’t be using a lot of money paying rent in Nairobi,” he said.