Olympic javelin silver medallist Julius Yego is hoping to put the disappointment of the last two years behind him when he begins the 2019/20 season at the Shanghai Diamond League this weekend.
Yego, despite winning the African title in Asaba, Nigeria last August and finishing fourth at the IAAF Continental Championships in Ostrava a month later, described those performances as disappointing.
“It was really disappointing,” said Yego. “But I remain hopeful now that I am going into a new season without an injury for the first time in a long time.”
“The season is long and heading to Shanghai, my main aim is to gauge myself as I begin the journey towards the World Championships in Doha later in the year.”
Yego observed that he will be aiming at 85m as he builds up for the worlds. “With the talented pool we have in the javelin at the moment, one must hit 90+m to keep himself in contention for a medal,” said Yego, who has been training at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani under his coach Joseph Mosonik.
The world Under-20 5,000 silver medallist Stanley Waithaka leads a strong Kenyan contingent for the 5,000m list. Waithaka, who has a personal best of 13:10.44, will have Richard Yator (12:59.44) for the company alongside Nicholas Kipkorir (13:11.58 ) and Cornelius Kiplangat.
The Kenyans, however, face a stern test from world cross country champion and double Commonwealth Games champion Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and Ethiopian quintet of Yomif Kejelcha, Telahun Bekele, Beriha Solomon, Solomon Barega and Hagos Gebrhiwet. Olympic silver medallist Paul Chelimo is also one to look out for in the 12-lap race alongside Morocco’s Abdelati Iguider.
In the women’s 1,500m, Africa senior champion Winny Chebet spearheads the challenge, alongside Nelly Jepkosgei and Josephine Kiplangat. The Kenyan duo will have to contend with Ethiopian trio of Alemu Habitan, Dawit Seyaum and Gudaf Tsegay, as well as Hassan Sifan of Netherlands, Arafi Rababe of Morocco and Mitchell Morgan of Australia
World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech heads a strong Kenyan field in the water and barrier event when she lines up alongside world under 20 junior champion Celliphine Chespol, Mercy Chepkirui, Fancy Cherono, Daisy Jepkemei, Norah Jeruto, Caroline Tuigong and former world champion Hyvin Kiyeng.