Team captain Julius Yego aiming for more gold
KEITH MCGHIE in Doha
Team captain Julius Yego is impressed with the Kenyan squad’s performance so far at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, and is confident that many more medals could come their way as the event reaches its conclusion this weekend.
Finals of the women’s 1,500m and 5,000m are followed by the men’s marathon, 1,500m, and 10,000m, plus his own event javelin, and Yego points out how strong his country’s assault on the podium places is in all of them.
Speaking exclusively to PD Wikendi from the team hotel in Doha, Yego, the 2015 World Champion from Beijing, stressed: “I’m very happy with the way we have gone but it’s not all about winning.
There are a lot of countries now doing well in athletics and sometimes we need to appreciate what we are doing.”
“Look at some of the times and the ages of some of our athletes. In the 5,000m, we were not able to field the first two from the Kenyan trials because they did not conform to the rules that were set but the two young athletes who did compete did very well and are capable of doing great things in future,” he added.
“In the remaining events we have very good athletes,” said Yego.
On Saturday, Hellen Obiri defends her 5,000m crown immediately after Faith Kipyegon attempts to become the third big-name mother to strike gold, barely 15 months since the birth of her daughter Alyn.
“Faith is so happy to come back as a mother and is the defending champion,” continues Yego.
“Look at Shelley-Ann Fraser-Price and Allyson Felix, they are still doing so well as mothers. Faith told me that she was very encouraged by what she saw when they carried their babies around the stadium.”
“The marathon runners arrived on Tuesday and we have the defending champion (Geoffrey Kirui). We have a very strong squad who have been running in Dubai and the Far East to prepare both mentally and physically.”
“Ruth (Chepng’etich) who won the women’s marathon is still here and she will talk to them about the conditions which are very tough for marathon runners.”
Yego, always calm and constructive in his views, has not had the season he had planned but explains: “Early season, I didn’t do so well but I had an injury to my cheek when something hit me during training for Shanghai.
That’s why I didn’t compete in Europe but I went to the African Games and won with a championship record of 87.73 metres, which is a big throw and gave me plenty of confidence.”
“To win here, I will need a another big throw. I have a lot of respect for the Germans who have done so well in the Diamond League but this is a different stage, then we have Magnus Kurt (Estonia) who is the world number one now. Someone will have to throw over 90 metres to win here I think.”