NAIROBI, Kenya, July 25 – Former Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) winner, Julius Yego has thrown down the gauntlet and warned his rivals he is fully recovered and will be firing on all cylinders at the Africa Athletics Championships.
The Olympic javelin silver medallist and former world champion, has said he believes he will reclaim the Africa title, which he lost in Durban, South Africa in 2016. The African Senior Athletics Championships will be held in Asaba, Nigeria from Aug 1-5.
Kenya’s team of 65 athletes is due to leave for Nigeria on Sunday and Yego has put up his hand up to be counted as a prospective gold medalist.
“It has been a nightmare period for me ever since I injured myself at the Rio Olympics. My groin and ankle have been troubling me. But I think it is going away. I have really worked hard with the physiotherapist and I feel good. It has been good for the last six months and what I need is to regain my form,” said Yego in Nairobi.
Yego, who won the SOYA award in 2015 after becoming the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in a field event at the World Championships, holds a national record of 92.72m, which he registered in 2015 when won gold at the World Championships in Beijing’s Birds Nest stadium. He went on to win silver at the Rio Olympics with one throw before injuring his groin.
The loss of form has seen Yego lose his world title without a fight in London last year and he has struggled to throw over 80 metres. This season, Yego’s best result has been 80.91m, which he posted at the national championships in Nairobi. He has had training camps in Finland and the Czech Republic and believes he is ready for Africa
“It is now much better and I will use the Africa Championship to rediscover my form and gain some winning mentality,” he said. However, Yego feels Kenya’s athletics officials are not doing enough to support his cause as he will have to travel to Nigeria without his coach. “I have always trained with my coach and he is always an inspiration at major championships. But I will not have his guidance in Nigeria and that is not good. I missed him at the Commonwealth Games and again it will happen at continental level,” he said.
The Africa Championships will be used to select the team that will represent the continent at the IAAF Continental Cup to be held in the Czech Republic in September. Only the best two athletes in each discipline will make the Africa team and Yego believes he will get his chance and prove to the world he is back to his best.