Bronze from Birmingham
Former World Champion Julius Yego finally ended an eight-year title drought by clinching a medal by bagging bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Sunday evening, a huge relief following years of trying to scale back to the top of global javelin throwing.
Yego’s medal saw Kenya finish the Games with 21 medals; six gold, five silver and 10 bronze. All the medals came from Athletics save for one, bronze in para powerlifting.
It was another morale boosting performance for the YouTube Man who follows up the Commonwealth medal to the African gold he won in Mauritius in June.
“Happy to be on this podium once more, big thank you to all who supported me to be back again after being out for so long Bronze medal at the commonwealth games with great talents on the field was amazing and scintillating Cheers all,” Yego shared via his social media page.
Yego has struggled with injuries and a search for form since winning silver at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and on Sunday finally found something to smile about as his first throw of 85.70 was enough to earn him bronze at the Alexander Stadium.
It was only the second time this season that Yego was breaching the 80m mark, having thrown 80.66 to win the national trials in June.
His first throw was the best as he registered no throws in the second, third, fourth and fifth attempts. He threw beyond 80 for the third time this season in his final attempt, but the throw was registered at 82.68, meaning his maiden throw earned him a medal.
Recently crowned World Champion Anderson Peters of Grenada won silver with a best throw of 88.64m earned in his fifth attempt while Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem broke the Games Record to win gold with a best throw of 90.18m, also a personal best for him.
Meanwhile, 2015 Africa 400m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa anchored Kenya to bronze medal in men’s 4x400m on Sunday.
It’s Wiseman Were who took the blocks first to handover the baton to William Rayan in fourth place.
Then Rayan dug in to close in before handing over to third leg Mike Mokamba, who zeroed in to handover to Mweresa, who swang to the third place and bronze in season’s best 3:02.42.
Trinidad and Tobago won gold in 3:01.29 as defending champions Botswana were relegated to silver this time around in 3:01.85.
It was the first time Kenya was getting a medal in the event since silver at the 2010 Delhi Games.
“We had a good combination and we thank God for the medal. I believe we shall improve to get the qualifying time for the World Athletics Championships next year,” said Mweresa. “We all were overloaded from other races but this is a good performance.”
Mweresa said they will need support if they are to qualify for the World Athletics Championships next year and 2024 Paris Olympics.
“We need camps for sprints. We also need to be taken for events outside the country especially in relays,” said Mweresa.
The medal was a relief for Kenya after a poor baton exchange cost the country the 4x100m silverware as the quartet failed to finish the final.
Samuel Imeta took off well at the blocks, but the second man Dan Kiviasi took off early making the exchange impossible.
Commonwealth Games 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala and third leg Mike Mokamba watched in disbelief as Kiviasi crossed the exchange zone.
Kenya who had set a National Record in the semis made one change to their starting line up bringing in Kiviasi for Hesbon Ochieng.
“I want to apologise to the rest of the team for the terrible mistake. I simply blundered. The pressure was immense,” said Kiviasi.