Kenyan throwers ready for Africa Senior Athletics Championships
What you need to know:
- Yego, 33, is happy with his progress since finishing second at the Kip Keino Classic on May 7 where he threw a season’s best of 79.59 metres.
- “I lost a bit of my techniques and sharpness after a long layoff of close to two years. I am doing a lot of speed exercises, which is reactive,” said Yego’, adding that what he lacked at Kip Keino Classic was speed, having struggled on the runway. “It’s normal when you stay out for long.”
Kenyan throwers have stepped up preparations ahead of the Africa Senior Athletics Championships due June 8 to 12 at Cote d’Or National Sports Complex in Reduit, Mauritius.
The team, which consists of defending javelin champion and 2015 World champion Julius Yego, Alex Kiprotich (javelin), Martha Musai (javelin), national champion Lucy Omondi (hammer throw) and Dominic Abunda (hammer throw), is confident of a good show at the continental extravaganza.
Also in the team that is under coach Philemon Siele is former two-time national hammer throw champion Linda Oseso.
Yego, who has won back-to-back continental javelin titles (2012 Porto Novo, 2014 Marrakech), as well as bronze in 2010 Nairobi, will be making his fifth appearance.
Kiprotich will be on his fourth show, having taken part in 2014, 2016 and 2018 editions in Marrakech, Durban and Asaba respectively, while Oseso makes her third appearance after the 2010 and 2012 events.
The best performance by Kiprotich was when he claimed bronze in 2016, but finished fifth in Asaba and seventh in Marrakech.
Oseso settled fifth in Nairobi and Porto Novo respectively, while it will be Omondi’s second appearance after finishing eighth in 2014.
The 19-year-old Musai, who is the 2018 Africa Youth Games javelin champion and the reigning national champion, can’t wait to make her debut in Mauritius.
Yego, 33, is happy with his progress since finishing second at the Kip Keino Classic on May 7 where he threw a season’s best of 79.59 metres.
“I lost a bit of my techniques and sharpness after a long layoff of close to two years. I am doing a lot of speed exercises, which is reactive,” said Yego’, adding that what he lacked at Kip Keino Classic was speed, having struggled on the runway. “It’s normal when you stay out for long.”
Yego, the 2016 Rio Olympics javelin silver medallist, said with three more weeks in residential training, he will be aiming to throw 85m and above so as to enable him qualify for the World Athletics Championships set for July 15 to 24 in Oregon, United States.
“As much as I want to qualify for the world event, I want to retain my Africa title,” said Yego, who has personal best of 92.72m attained when he won the world title during the 2015 World Championship in Beijing. It made Yego the third all-time best in javelin history then.
Kiprotich is out to upgrade his bronze from 2016 to gold and also attain the World Championships qualifying mark of 85m.
“My technique has been the main focus and Yego and the coach have been helpful,” said Kiprotich, adding that a throw of 80m will put him in the top 30 in the world rankings, hence a good chance to qualify directly to the World Championships.
This being her first major outing as a senior, Musai said it gives her the opportunity to continue working on her techniques.
“My target is to throw over 54m and qualify for the Commonwealth Games. Yego and Kiprotich have been resourceful,” said Musai.
Omondi said she is working on her speed and power as she aims to improve on her personal best of 52.82m.
“I want to thank God and Athletics Kenya for giving me this opportunity to represent Kenya again,” said Omondi.
“I should repay that with a good performance that should get me the ticket to the Commonwealth Games.”
Siele said that the throwers are responding well to training with the main focus being on speed endurance and reaction.